In Good Company

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By Bill Covaleski

Nothing makes you feel like more of a winner than appearing on the same page of a magazine as Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies sensational catcher. When the shared page is part of Philadelphia Magazine‘s annual “Best Of Philly” issue, the winning feeling is compounded. According to Philly Mag, our Summer Love Ale scored a home run and belongs in the big leagues alongside Chooch. They dubbed Summer Love the “Best Local Beer” and call it an: “extremely drinkable beer (that) satisfies craft-brew newbies and serious hop-heads alike.”

While we enjoy our win and page placement, we’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate other great Philly businesses that have been cited as “Best Of.”

Talula’s Garden wins for “Best Cheese Plate.” Former VBC Restaurant General Manager, Aimee Olexy has quietly made a major positive impact on the culinary universe of Philadelphia and we think it’s great to see her ongoing passion for cheese and local cheesemakers recognized.

We have always appreciated Khyber Pass Pub for pioneering craft beer at all stages of it’s storied life. But, with their more serious focus on food (including bacon popcorn), they deservedly got the magazine’s nod for “Best Revival.”

While hometown pride plays a part in our next shout-out, we are elated for countless reasons at seeing Downingtown’s dynamic Mayor, and Penn grad student, Josh Maxwell cited as “Best Young Politician.” Josh could teach the veterans a lesson with his wonderful listening skills and great focus on consensus. Too bad the magazine incorrectly claimed him as Coatesville’s Mayor. We ain’t sharing.

Bloody hell! Is there nothing at which William Reed and Paul Kimport of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s don’t excel? Our pals were noted this year for the Tap’s “Best Bloody Mary.” Congrats, guys, see you Sunday morning!

Pizzeria Stella grabbed “Best Pasta” honors for their summery delight, Rock Shrimp All’Amatriciana. This might explain why Summer Love Ale sales at the pizzeria are killing it right now. The two are delicious together.

Our friends at Oyster House on Sansom Street were duly noted as “Best Power Lunch.” When HopDevil Ale is on their beer engine, as it often is, we look for a best power nap spot after a satisfying lunch there…

As you should know by now, we have been in the ice cream business for close to 10 years, and finally began packaging three flavors this year. But, we have to give it up to the Berley brothers whose outstanding ode to old time goodness, Franklin Fountain, deservedly scored as “Best Ice Cream.” See you guys for Bike Fresh, Bike Local again this September?

We are so pleased that Chef Michael Solomonov put his roots down here in Philly to delight us with Zahav, Xochitl and Percy Street Barbecue (winner of “Best Pies”). Having earned a prestigious James Beard award, recognizing him as the best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region, his Old City flagship, Zahav was named “Best Restaurant To Take Your New York Friends To.” Of course, the only way to keep its ambiance great is assure that no Yankees fans are let in… Hey, they can drink Prima Pils at home too, ya know!

Philly institution McGillin’s Olde Ale House scored as “Best Happy Hour.” Now there’s a nod to tradition and longevity that we can heartily agree with. Well done, Chris and Chris!

“Best Chef” honors landed on North Broad Street this year, on the deserving shoulders of Chef Jeff Michaud of the outstanding Osteria. One might think that it would be hard to get noticed when your boss is the amazing Marc Vetri, but Jeff’s expertise, talent and the incredibly supportive teamwork that the Vetri organization embodies, truly add up to a winning hand for all Philly foodies.

Okay, we can accept being called middle aged at this point in our lives but when our biz pre-dates the “Best Old Restaurant” by a year, do we laugh or cry? We laugh because the honor went to Fork Restaurant where last year’s “Best Chef,” Terence Feury has meshed wonderfully with owner Ellen Yin’s mastery of service and seduction. A real gem of a restaurant, even without draft beer.

In the A-for-effort category, Pinocchio’s Beer Garden To Go grabbed “Best Beer Shop” because these guys remain relentless in keeping their 23 growler-ready taps exciting.

Thanks to all who make Philly great!

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European Tradition.


American Ingenuity.

The Victory Brewing Story

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…
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