Victory Brewing Company; A Visit To The Brewpub

Outside Victory Brewpub

“Locally brewed. Locally loved.” What a perfect first glimpse as Jim and I arrived at Victory Brewing Company. As a proud born-and-raised Pennsylvania girl, I smiled when I read it because it’s wonderful to explore more breweries that are local to me after two years of living out of the country. But there’s one more reason that we decided to take the long route from Harrisburg back to Jersey City that day – a detour we purposely created with Victory Brewing in mind…

LocallyBrewed_LocallyLoved_new

Pennsylvania connections…in Germany?

Back in April of 2012, Jim and I went on a weekend trip to Cologne, Germany from our home-base (at that time) in London. The plan was simple – a beer-focused weekend to explore the taste of Kolsch beer, a special style of top-fermenting beer unique to the Cologne region.

Kolsch beer

At Frueh am Dom,  we congratulated ourselves on securing the perfect table by the bar, our own spectator viewing spot where we could watch the nonstop flow of kolsch beer being poured out from the barrels.

Next to us, I noticed a man wearing a hat with the Victory Brewing Company logo. “You like Victory beer?” I inquired. His response was one that I never expected to hear. “I own Victory Beer.”

Cologne, Germany

A street in the old town neighborhood of Cologne

Two hours later Jim and I had two amazing things going for us.

1. We were enthralled in great conversation with Ron Barchet (one of the two partners at Victory Brewing Company who we learned was in Germany on business for the brewery.)

2. As true “beer geeks” we had our own live show taking place right in front of our eyes;  an ensemble of all male waiters who moved quickly and effortlessly like an assembly line to deliver their trays filled with 30+ full glasses of beer, bar staff who filled the cylindrical glasses of beer while tilting the barrel at an angle as it emptied, and a methodical, smooth system of replacing the beer barrels.

Alt Bier barrel

Forgot to take pictures that night! But, here’s a barrel of Alt bier in Dusseldorf to give you an idea…

And without realizing it our beer coasters were now covered in tick marks (this is how the waiters keep track of the amount of beer you drink).

By the end of the night, we also had an awesome list of recommendations from Ron on where to go the next day on our train ride to Dusseldorf to experience the “Alt” bier style specific to that region of Germany. That’s the last we saw of Ron Barchet – until we stepped inside the Victory Brewpub just a few days ago…

The Victory Brewpub

The sheer size of the brewpub’s interior was a beautiful sight! A 60-foot long bar and spacious restaurant rooms with a combination of booths and tables for any sized party with 300 seats. Maybe that was part culture shock on my part, too, considering the recent brewpubs I’ve frequented have been small old 500 year old buildings in London where I often had to duck as I entered so my head didn’t hit the ceiling.

Bar at Victory Brewpub

A well-thought out interior adorned with antique, bronze kettle covers; restasked for decoration, it was also technologically cool with an automatic growler filling system at the bar for efficiency.

Growler at Victory Brewpub

After spending some time visiting breweries in Germany over the last two years, and knowing that the brewers’ own backgrounds consisted of studying in Germany, it’s great to see how they’ve carried over some of that German efficiency and systems to their brewing operation in Pennsylvania.

Jim at entrance_new

Original copper heat exchanger circa 1890

The Beer

There’s 24 rotating taps in the brewpub. The hoppy style varieties that Victory brews are what I normally prefer, but this time I tried some of their other specialty varieties and was satisfied with it all. We purchased a bottle of the V Twelve, a Belgian Strong Ale, to take home with us and it was the perfect mid-week treat during this freezing cold winter season!

Victory Taps

A Growing Brewing Operation

Victory’s brewing operation has significantly grown as well. It’s currently a 100,000 square foot brewery in Downingtown, PA while a second, 212,000 square foot brewery operation in Parkesburg, PA is set to open later this year.

Brewing Equipment_Victory_new

With a soon to be new capacity double the size of their current capacity at 225,000 barrels a year, how do you keep that feeling of a local, small town brewery?

From our conversation with  some regulars at the bar, it doesn’t seem to be affecting Victory’s image or changing the way they do business. As Ron Barchet and other Victory Brewery executives passed by us, conducting a meeting in another room of the brewpub, it still felt like that small, privately owned business where everyone knows your name. (Thank you, Ron for remembering the name of the random PA girl you met in Cologne, Germany years ago when I approached you at the brewpub a few days ago.)

It’s wonderful to see the success of a company like Victory and I look forward to spotting that red V tap handle at craft beer bars throughout the world for many years to come. Makes me very proud that this beer is “locally brewed” from my home state of Pennsylvania!

Victory Brewing Company sign

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About Tanya

I’m a freelance travel and beer writer and a passionate and energetic 30 something - determined to enjoy life and see as much as possible along the way. Recently I lived abroad in London and traveled to 20+ countries within two years! As of January 2014, I'm back in the USA, and currently living in Charlotte, NC. But before all of that, my roots were set in small town America, where I spent the first 23 years of my life living, going to school, and working in the state of Pennsylvania.

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4 Responses to “Victory Brewing Company; A Visit To The Brewpub”

  1. Jim Cheney (@UncoveringPA) Says:

    Great post and story! Victory is definitely on my list of places that I need to hit in Philadelphia. This made me want to make sure I get there the next time I visit.

    Reply

    • Tanya Says:

      Thanks so much, Jim. It was a fun visit. Great to back closer to home and finally able to write about some of the US beer spots I’ve wanted to check out, too!

      Reply

  2. Brendan Says:

    Any opinions on Weyerbacher in Easton?

    Reply

  3. Troy Says:

    Enjoyed this stateside post! I happened to be in West Chester earlier this week, but wasn’t able to sample any of the more local beer options (except for Yards and Yuengling at the airport). Looking forward to being back in a spot with a high density of microbrews

    Reply

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