If you read us regularly, you are aware by now that I love Victory Brewing from Downingtown, PA, quite substantially. I don't write about them nearly enough. Sierra Nevada is the one I've voted as the nation's most underrated brewer, but at least their Pale Ale sells everywhere. Victory's revenue's probably 30 percent of Sierra's and they are too often dissed or dismissed by even the devoted craft brew lovers, seemingly their core constituency. A grocery store beer manager in my neighborhood recently told me that he won't have more than two shelf slots dedicated to Victory because he can't move the product. I don't get it. Victory's lineup beats that of any Illinois brewer by a long shot, and they're one of the best brewers in the nation that offers most of their top quality beers in non-bomber sizes. Thank you for that.
Hop Wallop is another prime example of what's great about their offerings. Nearly every Victory beer exudes high quality but offers a little twist, an unexpected flavor. The Hop Wallop is styled as an imperial IPA. It's got a hazy yellow color and has a rather tropical and wooden odor. It has a thin body and a tight carbonated mouthfeel, just splendid. Grassiness and a touch of earth are this beer's twist. They're subtle, but these flavors build upon the pine and citrusy hops, delivering what would be an ordinary DIPA into unique territory. That's the magic of Victory. They rarely offer anything boring and consistently deliver a pleasant drinking experience. The modest body of this and it's crisp finish with a bit of a hop sting in every sip make for a highly enjoyable sojourn in Hop Wallop land.
I recently had this on tap in South Bend at the Fiddler's Hearth and, more recently, from a bottle at a buddy's who bothered to chill the glass. The chilled glass experience was more enjoyable and exceedingly refreshing as I felt as if it activated the citrus flavors to a greater degree and played nicely off the riveting carbonation. I wish Hop Wallop showed up on tap much more often. I'd get the glass chilled a bit every time.