Today Beer Hawk have Nøgne in their Day 11 Advent Calendar, whereas, for the fifth day out of eleven I have something entirely different to the beer they taste in their video blog. Disappointed? Not really because I’ve got a bottle of Victory Beer Hop Devil and I’ve liked the beers from this brewer that I’ve tried previously. In fact, I think I’ve had Hop Devil on draught in Leeds city centre before. Probably in North Bar.
What started out in 1995 in Pennsylvania is now quite a big brewer who produced close on 150,000 Barrels in 2015, including ten core beers and more than fifteen seasonal brews that cover virtually every style of beer you can imagine. Their strap line is European tradition – American ingenuity, which accords directly with my thoughts of what craft brewing actually is.
I’m loving the scary Green Man inspired Hop Devil on the label, it’s suggestive of what might be contained in the barrel, it also foregrounds Victory Beer’s ethos of only using hop flowers and not pellets. I think it’s also a nice link to the Old World that gave us this style of beer, along with the all powerful earthy connection that anything made from nature has.
Deep Amber in colour, a malty almost tobacco like aroma, along with hops, lots of them. It didn’t hold any head after the pour. The tastes were lemony citrus and ripe fruits and a nice balance of toffee malt flavours. I also got a (bitter) almond like flavour and a few spicy notes. It’s quite smooth in the mouth and leaves an after taste a bit like bitter cream soda. Overall, balanced flavours, but you could tell it was all of it’s 6.7% ABV. Victory Beer’s website tells me that the beer is hopped with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook – powerful American hops in a powerful American style IPA, no surprise there then.
The acid test, would I drink it again? Yes, by the case load, it’s yummy.
Criticisms – the bottle was only in date by two months (BBE 02-17). Would I be buying something from a bottle shop that only had two months date left on it? Not unless it was in a reduced case I wouldn’t. Having said that, eleven days in, this is the first bottle from the Advent Calendar that hasn’t had a very long date on it. Despite the variations from the official Beer Hawk case showcased in their video, I’m still enjoying my selection.