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Victory Brewing Co, Vital IPA

The story of Victory Brewing Company starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so, even as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts.

Just months out of college, Bill’s appreciation of good beer and access to his father’s home brewing equipment inspired him to explore the hobby. That same year (1985), Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift. With that, both Bill and Ron developed their love of the craft, and a friendly rivalry grew between the two. The good-natured competition pushed Bill and Ron to become accomplished home brewers, as they both grew disillusioned with their jobs in the corporate world.

Ron left his job as a financial analyst and started an apprenticeship at Baltimore Brewing Company. After working there for nearly a year, Ron moved on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan. He called Bill to say his old job was available and so his friend took over the reigns. Just a few years later, with the relevant experience of running a brewery under their belt, Bill and Ron decided they were ready to open their own brewery near where they first met in Pennsylvania.

Victory Brewing Company opened its doors to the public in February 1996. What was once a Pepperidge Farm factory (they make cookies) became home to a 144-seat restaurant, 70-foot-long bar and a full-scale brewery. They are now churning out a lot more beer (they’re in the top 20 largest breweries in the States) and the restaurant is double the size, but their guiding principles and commitment to fresh, carefully constructed versions of European styles, done with American verve, remains the same.

Vital IPA is a great showcase of their talents. It’s a modern, punchy all-American hop bomb (Citra, Simcoe, Chinook). The malt bill is light, so there is a big hit of oranges and mangos with a bitter, dry, piney finish.

Victory Brewing claim this is “the only IPA you’ll need”. We’re not sure we’d go that far, but if you find yourself needing an IPA (and a lot of Americans are probably feeling that way right now) then this beer will certainly hit the spot.

www.victorybeer.com

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