Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Beer Review: Victory Brewing Company's Dirt Wolf Double IPA

Amber made her fantastic taco bowls the other night, and my task was to find something that would pair nicely with the dinner. Dirt Wolf from Victory Brewing Company seemed to fit the bill nicely. Amber's taco bowl is a spicy affair with big flavor!

Heat and powerful flavors can present some unique challenges when trying to get an ideal pairing. The general rule of thumb, is that heat requires a little sweetness in the beverage as a counter balance. Another rule of thumb, which this choice violates, is that bitterness and heat don't play well together. If it's done right, my opinion couldn't differ more.

I chose Dirt Wolf based partly on how well it fit and partly on pure personal preference. In IPAs, I gravitate towards options with floral or citrus aromas more often. Dirt Wolf delivers there.

The problem with this is that most things that achieve what I like in aromatics lack the maltiness to stand up to heat. Those pickled jalapenos would beat up a less malty IPA.

via Victory.
Dirt Wolf has a rare combination of floral and citrus aromatics with a caramel malty backbone for balance. The aromas on the nose help bring out some of the more exotic flavors in the taco bowl, and as a whole the malty backbone of the beer lends just enough sweetness and body to match the heat. Amber - an IPA lover of the highest order - also described flavors of "fresh dirt, but in a really pleasant way." 

Dirt Wolf is a must try if you like IPAs and spicy food!

via Twitter.
Victory has been around a long time for a craft brewery. They started in 1996 with a brewmaster trained at Weihenstephan in Germany (one of my favorite classic German breweries).

With breweries opening and closing because of a boom in craft brewing all over America, mid-sized breweries like Victory are having a hard time staying where they want to be. Unlike many of the other breweries in this category who sold part or all of their business to Anheuser-Busch, Victory chose a less controversial route and merged with Southern Tier, another mid-sized brewery out of New York in a group called ABV. 

While its well established and more widely distributed than ever, I would still call their beer "craft." And whether or not it's craft, most of it is very good!

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