Brewery Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, PA)
Style Imperial IPA
I’m back! It’s been several months, and much has happened in the beverage world. I could go into a long spiel about how I’ve been busy with work and have had no time to write, but the Baron is no bullshitter. Here’s what I’ve been doing with my spare time when I could have been writing about beer and spirits: catching up with Playstation 3, reading about Breaking Bad theories, thinking about how to use my wavier wire pickups in fantasy football, watching Breaking Bad,
TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD, watching my favorite sports teams lose, and probably most importantly (at least for my readers’ sake), trying new and fascinating beverages that most of you are too lazy to find for yourself don’t have time to try yourself.
You know, with all this time off, I’ve come to a life-changing realization about beer and life in general. And that is, that ANHEUSER-BUSCH AND MILLER-COORS ARE THE BEST BREWERS IN THE WORLD.
Ah, can’t go wrong with the Goodfellas gif – Baron, you hilarious son of a bitch!
Anyway, like I mentioned earlier, there have been a ton of new brews circulating around the world. The newest one in my neck of the woods is Victory’s DirtWolf Double IPA. India Pale Ales are a requisite for any brewery these days based on their immense customer demand, and when brewed (and transported, AND stored) properly they can be among the tastiest beers around.
Victory has been producing the very solid Hop Wallop for several years as their year-round imperial IPA offering. For the Baron, it’s always been an above average brew, but nothing that I kept in my regular rotation. After a long period of experimentation, Victory decided to shelve Hop Wallop for the more assertive, more in-your-face DirtWolf. For you hopheads out there, DirtWolf is brewed with whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and everyone’s favorite, Mosaic hops.
Tasty. So, without further ado…
- Appearance DirtWolf pours a clear golden-amber with a thick, fluffy white head. The wolf on the label reminds you that you’re in for that pleasant, crisp bite of hoppy goodness. 9/10
- Aroma While it doesn’t explode in your face like some imperial IPAs, DirtWolf has that typical hop bomb aroma. You get notes of resin, lemon, pineapple, and just the slightest hint of toffee malt. 16/20
- Taste DirtWolf is moderately sweet, with notes of pineapple, citrus, a bit pine, and some biscuity malt before a a dry finish. The taste and aroma are reminiscent of a West Coast style IPA, in the vein of Stone’s and Green Flash’s delectable IPA lineups. If you hate hops for some reason, you’ll likely not enjoy this. I’ve heard a lot of people say they dislike hoppy brews, but I believe just about anyone can enjoy a hop-forward beer in the right circumstance, whether it’s because of the style of the beer (there are dozens varieties) or the food pairing (see below). 35/40
- Palate IPAs are not the easiest style on the palate, but DirtWolf brings that pleasingly bitter bite without overwhelming the taste buds. Were it not for the ABV, one could easily down 2 of these bad boys per hour, for several hours. Somewhat highly carbonated for an imperial IPA, each sip leaves you thirsty for more. 9/10
- Value While the old Hop Wallop was sold for $11/6-pack in my area, DirtWolf is slight more expensive per bottle at $8.49/4-pack. But really, ~$2 for a bottle of an imperial IPA of this quality is a steal. Compared to some of my favorite year-round double IPAs, such as Dogfish Head’s 90-Minute IPA ($10/4-pack), Stone’s Ruination ($11/4-pack), and Firestone Walker’s Double Jack ($13/4-pack), this really is a Beverage Bargain. 19/20
- Overall 88/100
I feel very comfortable giving Victory Brewing Company’s DirtWolf Double IPA a “must-try” recommendation. While it may not be the most mind-blowing hoppy beer you’ve had, I can guarantee that if you’re a fan of IPAs this will easily make your regular rotation. With its assertive hop bite, world class drinkablilty (not a word) for the style, and economical pricing, it deserves a place in your favorite refrigerator. Let’s face it, Victory could put this beer in a 22 oz. bomber and sell it for $9 a pop, and all of us beer geeks would buy it. It’s a veritable bargain at ~$2 per 12 oz. bottle.
Keep in mind, as with almost any IPA, the fresher DirtWolf is the better it will taste. Check the bottling date before purchasing, 3 months or younger is ideal but IPAs are at their best when you can drink them within a month of bottling. If the brew is on a shelf, reach for the pack in the back, as excessive light can skunk hoppy beers, even when they are protected by brown bottles and tall cardboard holders.
I love drinking West Coast style IPAs like this with bold flavors that won’t be overpowered by the strong hoppiness. Barbeque is an ideal pairing, with smoked beef brisket and pulled pork being the Baron’s go-tos. Fried foods stand up to IPAs \like DirtWolf as well. If you’re into cheese pairing I’d go for an assertive (as if there’s a non-assertive) blue cheese or an extra-sharp cheddar. For dessert, the sweeter the better. Cheesecake and bread pudding enhanced by overly-sweet fruit jam or jelly work well, as does extra-sweet cheesecake (think raspberry with buttercream, or vanilla with caramel sauce). Just don’t go for citrus – it’ll be culinary overkill for your palate.