It's been a few months since my last Good Stuff review. That's not because I forgot about this series or because I don't have half a dozen favorites that could easily step up the plate in the six hole. I just haven't been inspired to dig deep into a beer and brewery... until today! Thanks to this beer being readily available here in Florida just in the past month, I have fallen in love with Good Stuff #6: Storm King Imperial Stout brewed by Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. My original review was just one month ago, the very day Total Wine in Pembroke Pines received their first shipment of Victory Beers. They hadn't even hit the shelves there yet, and I was already bugging their store manager! That was the same day the Phillies achieved Victory over the Yankees in Game One of the World Series! Alas, you all know the rest of that sad story. Next year for the Phils, but you don't need to wait that long to enjoy this beer at least!
I started drinking this beer at 9:50 AM. Hey! Don't judge me! I need to take advantage of every free kidless moment that I have. It's not like I cracked open a handful of shitty beers or something. Just one, for this review, you know, science.
Today's review: Wow, what a welcoming aroma full of nutty and coffee scents! Flavors start out with some burnt chocolate and coffee. Yet you might be surprised that the amount of hops that comes immediately after those initial flavors is substantial. Couple that with some light citrus and orange and spiciness, and you will start to get the picture that this is an awesome and complex beer. Those coffee and hops flavors weave in and out of each other, back and forth so many times. That must be the "rolling crescendo of flavors" the bottle label talks about. But wait! You're nowhere near done yet. You are then greeted by a strong little kick from the 9.1% alcohol, providing a nice little burn. But this alcohol isn't boozy; rather it's blended in the with the rest of the ingredients wonderfully. Creamy and silky smooth texture with super fine bubbles from a medium to upper-level carbonation make this experience truly outstanding. The finish is dry and a little bitter and the flavors last on your palate a long time. Damn it's good stuff! Is it OK to call a beer seductive?
Victory Brewing has around 20 beers (give or take a few) listed on their site, including their seasonals. It might not be coincidence that the five that are available to me here in South Florida are also the first five listed on their site. Reading some of the other profiles makes me yearn for a trip up to PA. Anyway, the man on the street (corporate Total Wine Star RH) tells me that Baltic Thunder and Yakima Twilight Ale are also approved for delivery here and should eventually end up in my mouth. Looking forward to that!
Until then, the other four available were mostly great beers. They include, in order of my liking them, Hop Wallop, HopDevil India Pale Ale, Prima Pils and Golden Monkey. Getting Victory beers here in Florida has been a real treat! From unsuccessful attempts at having friends and family bring some beers back with them on business trips, to getting an email update directly from Victory's Brewmaster and President, to finally having some available here locally, you can read more details at the beginning of my original Storm King review. Of course, I know it's just a refresher since you read it the first time a month ago!
What does the brewery say about this beer? You can see a very short description and a few awards that Storm King Imperial Stout has won at their website. Those awards include the European BeerStar Competition Bronze Medal in 2007, Australian International Beer Awards Bronze Medal in 2008, and Real Ale Festival Champion Stout in 2002. The actual bottle says a little more. The label talks about "thundering, hoppy appeal" and "espresso-like depth of character" to describe Storm King. I couldn't agree more!
You can learn a lot about the people that make Victory run here, including founders and brewmasters Bill and Ron. Need help pairing their beers with some food? I'm sure you could get some help at their Brewpub. Also check out their other events, including open mic Mondays if you want to show off your musical talent (or watch), some jazz events and even a brunch with Santa on December 13. I bet Santa loves this event!
Right from the home page of Victory you can find their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. That Twitter link follows Bill Covaleski and Communications Director Anne Shuniak. Anne also seems to have a forgotten Twitter account that I stumbled upon, which shows her sense of humor. Her bio there says "Communication director at Victory Brewing. Yes, jealousy is an appropriate response." Each beer page also has a link to what people are saying about their beers on BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. Be sure to check those out after you read about them here!
Storm King Imperial Stout is a terrific beer! Hands down, one of the best out there! If you're visiting Florida, feel free to stop by some time. I'll be sure to help you map your way to my house in such a way that Total Wine is on the way. You wouldn't want to forget to bring a case of this guy to enjoy!
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