Victory "Hop Wallop" IPA

Victory is a sentimental favorite of mine, if it isn't a brewer who is solidly in the upper crust like a Lagunitas or Bearded Iris. Some of the first craft brews I ever had were from this Downingtown, PA company, and I'm not even sure it was referred to as a craft beer at that time. I certainly know that I hadn't heard the term yet, but I knew I liked their beers better than most of the others I had access to.

The yellow-gold beer doesn't have much of a head at first, and it leaves nothing more than a thin layer of dust with some solidity around the edges and one little island. The aroma is strangely a little skunky. I check the date, and we are well within our window for the beer, so I don't know if this is going to be a problem. The hops peek through with a little bit of citrus, but I'm not getting any malt.

First sip is actually very nice. It's not hop-nuts like a lot of IPAs (even ones from these guys) might be. Instead, it is nice and smooth from start to finish. It has citrus and pine up front with caramel malt backing it up nicely. The sip is good, and I don't know where the skunk smell came from, but we're good.

Tip-in is a tickle of carbonation with the pine hops right up at the front of the mouth and the citrus toward the back. Carbonation then ramps up with the caramel meeting the pine and the citrus just asking them to get along. The finish is a slap of carbonation burn with the bitterness held to the trail-off while the citrus lingers.

Bottom Line: A sublime if uncultured beverage.

3.5/5

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