Swedish Beers Meet Victory at Allaspina

Check out this cool event at Alla Spina on April 5 –

“Join legendary PA brewmaster Bill Covaleski, Co-Founder of Victory Brewing, and visiting beer expert Jorgen Hasselqvist of the world-renowned Oliver Twist Pub in Stockholm, Sweden, for an exploration of one of the world’s most exciting craft beer movements. Jorgen will lead us through three rare tastes of Swedish brews and thread their evolution to contemporary US references brewed by Victory. Expect a proper education, lively discussion, killer beers, and complimentary Scandinavian inspired snacks from our kitchen. Skål!”

Tickets are $39 – go to allaspinaphilly.com to purchase them.

Craft Beer Memories Relived: What Is Your Groundhog Day?

In my recent article in Ticket to Entertainment, I asked several people in the craft beer industry to describe a day that they could relive over and over again (beer related of course!), as Bill Murray did in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day.”  Due to space limitations, I had to edit their responses – so below are their full, unedited responses!  Cheers!

Bill Covaleski, Victory Brewing Company, Jan. 17, 2017

“This is a great question that everyone should answer because, hopefully, it rewards a person with a backwards winding movie off all of the moments of their lives in which the experienced great fulfillment. For me there were many candidates for this honor, but one offered great clarity so I’ll go with this…

Years ago Greg Koch (Stone Brewing) had invited Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) and I to participate in a big way in the opening of Stone Berlin, with a special version of our Saison du BUFF to be brewed there. Time went by and the day arrived, September 20, 2016. I walked to Sam’s hotel and there he was, as planned, with bikes for us to make the 45 minute trek. Greg rolled up at our arranged meeting point, Brandenburg Gate, a historic spot indeed that added some gravity to what was feeling like a very exciting day. I have to admit, the importance of this American craft beer flag that Stone had so boldly planted in Germany was thrilling me, a student of German brewing school (Doemens, 1993) whose earliest flavorful beers were German imports. I could not wait to experience it.

Along the bike path the folks from BRLO Brewery were starting another busy day of construction on their brewery built into shipping containers so we stopped in to meet them, Greg being the friendly neighbor he is rather than the American beer icon. A sense of anonymity and freedom were a big part of the blissful experience that day. The peak of which may have happened as we rode the quiet path. Just three anonymous friends sharing the path with pensioners and their pets, off to a great, secret adventure like grade school pals skipping school. The sense of promise and place were rich and immediate.

Stone Berlin exudes a calm confidence. It is impossible not to be impressed with the way grand spaces lead to cozy nooks and interesting views, all designed to enrich the experience of flavor and conversation. The artist in me found delight in the facility at every turn. We were joined that day by friends and guests from the UK and America and eventually got to work sorting the rosemary, sage, lemon thyme and parsley that make this winning collaboration beer so delicious. The staff were wide-eyed as well, only one week into the brewpub’s operation. All around was sense of promise, and risk, an intoxicating combination that we entrepreneurs can’t get enough of. Speaking of risk, I recall that the menacing traffic at more than one intersection nearly claimed Sam though we laughed right through it with shouts of encouragement.

Similar to the Stone staff an incredible and close-knit bunch of beer lovers gathered throughout the day, culminating with magnificent beer dinner in which a commemorative boot of Saison du BUFF was passed around and enjoyed by each dinner guest in a somewhat irreverent take on a highly codified German beer drinking tradition.

We shook ourselves from this dream to remount our bikes, this time a larger group including friends and family. At one point I dashed ahead into the darkness to live a moment within my own thoughts. I wondered what force brings busy friends, competitors some might insist, together to a foreign place to add vitality to the vision of a friend It is friendship itself, and the promising energy that flows from a group on the same mission. That’s how you should drink beer, with friends on a mission of discovery. Doing so will make each day different, better and memorable.”

Sam Calagione, Greg Koch and Bill Covaleski celebrate after brewing Saison du BUFF in Stone’s new brewpub in Berlin, September 20, 2016. Photo courtesy of Bill Covaleski.

Julius Facenda, The Brick & Barrel, Jan. 21, 2017:

“Something I’d love to relive every day….One of my most enjoyable beer experiences:  When I started working at Iron Abbey, I had a lot of friends that were judgmental to craft beer scene at the time – it was fancy for them.  And I was getting into it because we had 36 lines on and 300 bottles – so I’m tasting 40 different liquids every day – sour, hoppy, imperial stout, all this crazy stuff.  The boss plans a trip to Sly Fox Bock Fest.  Bock Fest is at Sly Fox, in the parking lot of a shopping center.  We took a bus there – we had 5 cases of Sly Fox “113 IPA” and a good selection of the Sly Fox cans (this is before cans were cool, too!)  So we’re on the bus with a whole bunch of people and I brought a bunch of my non-craft friends – cause they like to party.  Everyone is singing on the bus, and we pull up to Sly Fox and there’s 1000 people in the parking lot – it maxed out at 5000 people!  There’s busses from all kinds of bars and god knows – just random people!

There’s trailers and people with their goats for the goat races.  When we get off the bus, the first interaction we have is with a bunch of goats who are just standing around with no one watching them!   We look at the goats, and one comes out and head butts my leg!  Not vicious, a black goat with huge horns – my friends start laughing;  they are not used to drinking this stronger beer, so they are starting to have a good time.  We came across this beer called EisBock – I was not aware of it prior to that day.  I went into the brewpub – they served the Eisbock in 5 oz servings – so I ordered a few for me and my friends.  It’s different but it’s good – I think it was 14% ABV.

I remember there were people in the trees watching the goat races; I was sitting on a bench with some regulars from Iron Abbey.  Meanwhile, I’m sipping this 14% beer – and my boss comes up and says, “Let’s go – you’re racing this goat!”  I said “I’m drunk bro – I’m not doing that.”  But I chugged the beer and went to get the goat.  It was cool because I have a little salt and pepper in my beard and I got a goat that was salt and pepper too!  One of the guys that worked at Na Brasa also got a goat, and before the race began, the goat took off on him.  He chased it down and finally got the goat back.  I was in the second heat, and I was watching the first heat.  I learned  after the fact – there’s a trick to racing goats – you can’t get in front of your goat, because if you do your goat stops.  Whichever goat wins, that name is used for that year’s bock beer.  Peggy was a three legged goat that may have won a few years in a row and was racing the year I was there.

It was an amazing time – and it wasn’t just all about craft beer.  It was more about the camaraderie with my friends between the beer, the event – Bock fest – being an old german festival.  And my friends were really into this idea because they were partying but there were still people drinking PBR cans.  As I was waiting for my turn in the second heat of the goat race, I look over and my friends are standing next to some random guy with a cooler of PBR cans and they are waving PBR cans! On the way home on the bus the whole bus was singing.  It was such a cool event because it brought non-craft beer drinkers to the real craft beer world where its like every one was just enjoying the time together.  And it was one of my first beer events, to tell you the truth!

Daniel Endicott, Forest & Main Brewing, Jan, 22, 2017

In January of 2009 I traveled to England to study brewing at the University of Sunderland. After a long over night flight and a day of exhausting traveling I arrived in York, where I would spend a few days before classes began. After a quick nap I set out to enjoy the history and beauty of York. I wound up in the Minister Inn, a little bar that makes our bar look enormous. Over pints of bitter I made friends with the locals. Over pints of bitter I watched the inauguration of Barack Obama. It was a momentous time, both for my country and myself. It was a night full of optimism, joy, and pride… and some of the best beer I’d ever had. I returned to the Minister Inn the next night and enjoyed more pints with my new friends, it was one of the most welcoming pubs I’ve ever set foot in. If I could relive one beer related day of my life I think I would choose that one.  It was a big inspiration for our pub.

John Remington, Founder, Conshohocken Brewing Company, Jan. 22, 2017

“This is an easy question for me!  May 2016 – when we won the Silver at the World Beer Cup right here in our backyard in Philadelphia for our ‘Puddlers Row ESB.’  It was amazing to win at the world level, but to do it in Philadelphia made it that much more special to us.  The festivities afterward got a bit hazy after hitting several of our favorite Philly local spots into the early morning.  Definitely worth reliving a few times!”

Jim Carter, Ambler Beverage Exchange, Jan. 22, 2017

“Hahahaha….the one day I’d relive over and over is when I went to Monks Cafe for the 1st time…I could live with doing that for the rest of life…hahaha.  The beers that I had were unbelievable …each one was better than the next ( can’t even remember how what they were but definitely Belgian) the food was spot on and the atmosphere was perfect…I would do it everyday if I could…”

* * *

As Covaleski said, “This is a great question that everyone should answer because, hopefully, it rewards a person with a backwards winding movie of all of the moments of their lives in which they experienced great fulfillment.”  And truly, the question helps one recognize the real value of beer; it should not just be a liquid consumed in a vacuum, but a vital part of a social experience that becomes inexorably intertwined with our life experiences.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2017 – all rights reserved

Victory Brewing’s Prima Pils Updated For Summer 2016

Prima Pils by the Pool!

Prima Pils by the Pool!

Victory Brewing recently refreshed its Prima Pils by updating the label with a classic look and putting it into a can for easy transport this summer.  According to a press release from Victory:

“With the decision to put Prima in cans, creating ‘portable Pils perfection,’ we decided to refresh the label, too,” said Victory’s co-founder and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski.  “The liquid is the same as it’s been for 20 years but we wanted to brighten the label and boldly state what our loyal fans have been saying for decades: “PRIMA PILS PERFECTION SINCE 1996.”

Prima Pils on the go in the summer!

Prima Pils on the go in the summer!

I’ll be honest – it had been a long time since I’d had Prima Pils, but when I saw the new label (and needed cans vs. glass for poolside), I figured I’d circle back and try it again.  Let’s just say I’m hooked.   Prima Pils – in a can – is perfect for throwing in a cooler and taking with you on your summer excursions (or just to your backyard pool!)  My friends and I have already been through a few cases and it’s not even July yet!

prima2

If you haven’t had a Prima Pils in a while, try it again – I think it’s a perfect compliment to the heat of summer picnics and sitting on the beach.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2016 – all rights reserved

Philly Beer Week 2016 is here!!

Once again the City of Brotherly Love is showing its love for brew to the World!  On Friday, June 3, 2016, the official opening of Philly Beer Week 2016 began at the Fillmore in Fishtown, with a beer festival / celebration of all things beer – The Opening Tap!

Anxiously awaiting the arrival of the HOG to open to first keg of PBW!

Anxiously awaiting the arrival of the HOG to open to first keg of PBW!

For those holding VIP tickets, the doors opened at 6pm – all the breweries on the main floor were giving out their samples, while some newcomers – Brewery ARS, Hidden River, Highway Manor, and Death of the Fox – delighted with their tasty brews upstairs.

VIP session with Highway Manor's excellent strawberry and blueberry sours.

VIP session with Highway Manor’s excellent strawberry and blueberry sours.

As it neared 7:00pm, anticipation began to rise for the arrival of the Hammer of Glory (The HOG), the sledgehammer used to crack open the first keg of Philly Beer Week – that had begun its Olympic-torch like journey from bar to bar since 8am.  Once it arrived, Joe Ortlieb, 91 years young, used the HOG to get the Brotherly Suds 7 flowing – “Ryebock Lager,” a  collaboration beer between “The Big 7” Philly brewers – Sly Fox, Yards, Victory, Iron Hill, Flying Fish, Stoudts and Troegs.

The view from the mezzanine of the beautiful Fillmore.

The view from the mezzanine of the beautiful Fillmore.

Casey Parker and Will Reed welcome the HOG to the stage

Casey Parker and Will Reed welcome the HOG to the stage!

Check out my Facebook page and Instagram for videos of the tapping of the keg and Joe Ortlieb’s toast!

Once the beer was flowing, the beer festival began – and so did Philly Beer Week!

Here’s a few more photos as the celebration continued! As Joe said in his toast – “Good beer, good friends, GOOD TIMES!” – that’s what Philly Beer Week is all about!  Hope to see you out there!

On this night you can call me The Hogholder.

On this night you can call me The Hogholder.

Will Reed of The Standard Tap brings the HOG to the stage!

Will Reed of The Standard Tap brings the HOG to the stage!

A Victory Yakima Glory at Johnny Brenda's was a perfect end to the first night of Philly Beer Week!

A Victory Yakima Glory at Johnny Brenda’s was a perfect end to the first night of Philly Beer Week!

 

Victory Brewing Announces Two New Beers For Spring

"I like to ride my bicycle" - and then have a Cage Radler!

“I like to ride my bicycle” – and then have a Cage Radler!

It was a busy week for Victory Brewing Company, as it announced two new beers perfect for the warming temperatures!

First was the “Hoppy White Ale,” a beer brewed exclusively for The Pour House, member of the P.J.W. Restaurant Group.  According to the press release, “Hoppy White Ale will be available by the pint for $5 in all three The Pour House locations. Hand-carved wooden tap handles and branded Hoppy White beer glasses were created to complete the experience. Hoppy White is a full-bodied wheat beer with heavy citrus aromas. At 5.9% ABV it is extremely drinkable and refreshing with orange and earthy hop flavors due to the heavy usage of Citra hops late in the boil.”

On April 15, Victory announced the release of “Cage Radler” a “…light, thirst-quenching lager with a lemony twist serves as a smile and a nod to outdoor enthusiasts and beer lovers alike that the warm weather is here meaning one thing: it’s playtime. The radler, Victory’s newest creation and an ode to the German word for ‘cyclist’, blends a light lager with lemons, resulting in a clean, crisp and thirst-quenching taste.”

From the press release for Radler:

““Addressing our consumers’ thirst for quality and innovation is our pleasure and we expect to deliver plenty of summertime pleasure with this release. Ready to enjoy with all outdoor activities, Cage Radler, delivers quenching flavor and on-the-go convenience with cans as well as bottles,” said Victory’s President and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski.

Radler, the German word for ‘cyclist’, came about on a warm June day in 1922 when Franz Xaver Kugler, the owner of a Bavarian inn, was running out of beer while his bar was occupied by thirsty, demanding cyclists. Thinking on his feet, he added lemon-lime soda to dunkel lager and the tasty result became fondly forever known as the radler.

Today, radlers commonly consist of half-fruit soda, half-beer and are still popular among active drinkers who crave a refreshing, low alcohol beverage on their journey. The perfect toast to spring and summer, Victory’s Cage Radler is made with all natural ingredients. It pours a golden, lemony yellow with an inviting white foam on top. Slightly hazy and entirely rejuvenating, it features fresh, effervescent citrus combined against a light, yet flavorful, body while carefully balancing sharp notes of lemonade and citrusy zest with earthy, grainy characters. Containing Tettnang Mittelfrueh hops and pilsner malts, this good vibe beer also has an easygoing ABV of 3.0%. With the low ABV but intense tanginess, the radler is ideal for cooling down post-activity and can be best enjoyed outside.”

Look for Hoppy White Ale at The Pourhouse locations in North Wales, Exton and Westmont, NJ, and Cage Radler in bars, restaurants and distributors!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2016 – all rights reserved

Saint Benjamin Brewing Hosts “State of Craft Beer” Panel

"State of Craft Beer" at Saint Benjamin Brewing Company

“State of Craft Beer” at Saint Benjamin Brewing Company

Last Thursday I enjoyed a few craft brews at Saint Benjamin Brewing Company during the “State of Craft Beer” panel discussion as part of Brooklyn Brewing’s “Brooklyn Mash.”  Read about the event on Philly Beer Scene Online Exclusives!

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2015 – all rights reserved

“Victory for the Headwaters” – September 12, 2015

r_inRk_lQdWegOrm-ntdJpET6WNKWHYEGngE8WqLmnQ

Victory Brewing Company announced that it will hold a day long celebration, “Raising Funds to Preserve, Protect and Celebrate the Most Crucial Element for Life (and Great Craft Beer)” – the water of the Brandywine Watershed, on September 12, 2015 from noon to 8pm.  A portion of every Headwaters Ale sold will be donated to the Headwaters Grant, which distributes the proceeds to environmental advocacy groups.  Read the full press release below:

Victory for the Headwaters: Raising Funds to Preserve, Protect and Celebrate the Most Crucial Element for Life (and Great Craft Beer) 

Downingtown, PA, August 10, 2015- Victory Brewing Company (Victory) will host Victory for the Headwaters, a daylong celebration and fundraiser,on Saturday, September 12th from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The event starts with a volunteer trash clean up canoe trip down the Brandywine River and continues at Victory’s Parkesburg brewery at 3127 Lower Valley Road where the Victory for the Headwaters fundraiser will be held, and the real party starts.  All proceeds will benefit Victory’s Headwater Grant, which provides funds to environmental organizations dedicated to protecting our water.

To further the festivities, Victory will unveil the new packaging for its Headwaters Ale. The new look will support the idea behind the delicious brew, which is to pay homage to the Brandywine Watershed, the local source from which every Victory beer ‘springs.’  A portion of every Headwaters Ale sold will be donated to the Headwaters Grant. As one of the four basic ingredients in beer, water is fundamental not only in the production and flavor profile of all brews but most importantly in the health of our planet. Headwaters Ale was introduced 5 years ago, as Victory approaches 20 years in the craft beer industry, the brewery’s commitment to environmental stewardship is at an all time high.

“Just as a river forms from tiny droplets from the heavens, we see our engagement of a conscientious audience in the Headwaters Grant creating a larger impact,” explains Bill Covaleski, Brewmaster and President of Victory Brewing Company. “Craft beer fans are presented with innumerable choices of beers to purchase. Our goals is to help our fans make the connection that choosing Headwaters Ale, is more than just a taste preference, it is a decision to help preserve our planet one sip at a time.”

Tickets to Victory for the Headwaters can be purchased here(https://store.victorybeer.com/category/victory-for-the-headwaters/) and start as low as $10 for registration for the clean up and transportation to and from the Parkesburg brewery to the Brandywine River sites. Packages for the fundraiser include River Rescuer for $40 and includes a Headwaters pint glass, two beverages and one food item; Water Warrior for $75 entitles fans to a Headwaters pint glass, signed coaster, t-shirt, two beverages and one food item and the Headwaters Hero package for $200 includes a special group tour of the Parkesburg production tour with Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet along with a tasting of a soon-to-be released brew, limited edition shirt, Headwaters pint glass, two beverages and one food item.

About Victory Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company is a craft brewery headquartered in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Founded by childhood friends, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory officially opened its doors in February of 1996. In addition to the original Downingtown brewery and brewpub, Victory opened a second state-of-the-art brewery in 2014 in Parkesburg, PA to expand production capabilities and serve fans of fully flavored beers in 36 states with innovative beers melding European ingredients and technology with American creativity. To learn more about Victory Brewing Company visit us on the web at www.victorybeer.com.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2015 – all rights reserved

Victory Brewing Opens Brewpub in Kennett Square

Victory's Kennett Square Brewpub opened on April 21, 2015

Victory’s Kennett Square Brewpub opened on April 21, 2015

Tonight I attended a media event at Victory Brewing Company’s new brewpub in Kennett Square.  Victory President and Brewmaster Bill Covaleski was on hand to introduce the new brewpub and guide us through an amazing food and beer pairing.  In addition to the samples of beer we tried, we each left with a bottle of Moving Parts 03 and the highly anticipated Summer Love Ale in a can.  The summer is truly on its way!

Victory's Summer Love Ale now portable in a can!

Victory’s Summer Love Ale now portable in a can!  Photo courtesy of Victory Brewing Company.

Cheers!

The Brewholder

Copyright 2015 – all rights reserved