Tuesday, March 24
We didn’t do much that was beer-related yesterday, though I will say that the Arlington Draft House and Cinema has a decent beer selection, and also serves a mean Royale With Cheese (cinema, therefore movie-inspired menu). Also, Birdman is a very strange movie.
Today, we waved goodbye to our friends in the D.C. area and headed back to Pennsylvania, this time aiming for Downingtown, the home of Victory Brewing. As with previous posts in this series, I’ll give you the highlights now, and more details and tasting notes later.
Victory is really cool. They successfully brew a wide range of styles, and though they’re decently big in terms of notoriety and distribution area, they maintain a very friendly, people-centered attitude. That’s how beer should be, but it’s not always the case.
My tasting flight included five beers, ranging in color and flavor intensity from the impressively well done Hip Czech, to Scarlet Fire, a rye Rauchbier that evoked memories of bonfires on the beach.
Both styles are tough to get right, but I was especially happy to find a good Czech Pilsner on tap. Almost all of the flavor comes from the Bohemian pils malt, so there’s nowhere for flaws to hide.
The bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable, amd if they don’t know something, they’ll find out. The Victory brewpub is possibly the most kid-friendly I’ve visited, and the food is delicious.
With a couple of hours to kill before the Steal the Glass! event (which Abby, one of the bartenders, told us about), we toodled over to the Sly Fox Brewhouse & Eatery, in Phoenixville. It’s only a 20 mile or so drive between the two breweries, I think.
Driving safety being an important consideration, we took our time over a shared flight of Sly Fox brews. Again, proper tasting notes will follow, but I’d like to mention their two hand-pumped ales, Seamus’ Red Ale, and Schuylkill River Trail Ale. Both are wonderfully sessionable, low-grav ales with plenty of flavor. Also, the Renard D’or is an excellent golden strong that smells and tastes quite a bit like Duvel, but is unique enough to stand on its own. If you can get it, I’d definitely recommend it.
Back at Victory, the place was filling up; the bar was solidly lined with folks standing two-deep in spots, and plenty of tables were occupied, as well.
It was the seasonal release party for Summer Love, served in its own can glass, which drinkers then got go keep. Naturally, we came away with two of them. Summer Love is a hoppy and refreshing pale ale with enough unique character to separate it from other well-loved examples, such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
This got long for a quick hits post; a testament to how much we enjoyed both breweries.