Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beer Snobbery & Victory Does It Again

To paraphrase (and directly change) the funniest line from the movie Sideways, "If anybody orders the F*!@#% king Budweiser, I am out of here!" The question of the day, is when did I become a beer snob? My taste in beer started out good, went to bad, became better and now it is located right in the middle of outright snobbery. How did this happen? One day I am filling the cooler up with cases of Miller Lite and the next day I am buying champagne corked bottles of Belgium Ale. The ascent to fine beer was as rapid as a 4 bottle of Barleywine headache.

As it stands now, I can trace the beer snob roots to my latter rugby days. It all started when the team used to go to the Irish pub and someone forced me to have a traditional pour Black & Tan. Wasn't fond of it, but kept at it. This turned to an ungodly affection for Guinness Draught. Once I crossed the Guinness line, I knew there were other beers out there. I became a member of a micro beer of the month club. Even during my beer of the month tenure, my tastes were still below par, as most beers I didn't enjoy. At least I still had my domestic swill to fall back on.

I have to say the turning point for myself was in the Philadelphia Airport. I was on my way to Atlanta for a conference. I found a book in the bookstore called, "The Good Beer Book", by Tim Harper and Garret Oliver. Man, that book opened my eyes. It had stories about the brewing industry, the history of beer, the beer itself, it actually made my mouth want to try good beer. The other thing that the book accomplished is that it made me want to try home brewing. I casually mentioned this to my wife and never really thought of it again. That Christmas, my wife bought me a complete home brewing kit, including the pots and pans. I brewed a German Bock and an Irish Red Ale. From that moment on, a "regular" beer was no longer good enough for me. I subscribed to Beer magazines, purchased Beer books and went to Michael Jackson beer tastings. When I go out of town, I search for micro breweries and beer bars. When I stay in town, I go to the local with the best beer selections. It gets worse, I even stop in the beer store just to "look" and see if anything is new. That's not too bad, but I do it weekly!

Beer snob? I don't know. Beer lover, yes indeed. I love to talk beer, read beer and most importantly enjoy beer. Beer is the F *&%#@ king best!

Time for reviews:

Victory Saison Ale- Victory Brewing is the awesome brewery from Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Their V12 is one of my favorite brews. I was very anxious to try their Saison. Saison is a style of beer brewed in the southern part of Belgium, the French-speaking part. Saisons are a rustic beer brewed in early spring to be consumed in the summer months. A very refreshing beer. I saved my Victory Saison to have with a very large plate of spicy Blue Claw Crabs on a hot summer evening. I worked hard catching crabs all weekend and put together a feast for my wife and myself. Saisons, I am told go best with sausage, duck or lamb. Three foods I can live without. To me, a summer beer calls out for crabs. And they were perfect together. The first thing you have to notice about a Victory Saison is the smell. Pour it in a wide mouthed glass and you will not believe the aroma. Incredible! The color is very golden and the beer pours a thick head. The first taste lives up to the purpose of the beer. Extremely refreshing. The taste is actually divided up into three parts. When it hits the mouth, it is a little bitter (nice) and then it turns to a dry, spicy sensation. The Victory Saison finishes up with a very refreshing taste. The beer itself came in a champagne cork 750ml bottle and poured two nice size glasses. Get yourself a V Saison Ale before the summer is over! Go to and check out all the other fine beers.

Samuel Smith's (England) Organic Ale & Organic Lager- This was probably redundant, I mean beer, especially good beer, is made from all natural ingredients. Organic means that the ingredients (hops, barley, malt) were not treated with any pesticides or unnatural plant food and fertilizers. Being a health nut, I try to eat as much organic food as possible, so I decided to give the beer a try. Couldn't tast the "Organic-ness", but really liked the beer. The Ale was smooth and had a nice hoppiness to it. The lager didn't have the (nice) harshness of a Cech lager/pilsner, and it didn't need it. The beer was strong tasting on its own in a smoother way. Both were very enjoyable and I felt much healthier afterwards.


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At 4:21 AM, Anonymous Rich Anderson said...

Dr. J.
I've enjoyed several of the Victory beers but have not experienced the Saison. I'll be there soon.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

Keep your eyes open for Victory's 10 Year celebration of their 10th anniversary this year. It's out of this world (and reportedly becoming less easy to find.)

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