VBC: You want answers?
Drinkers: We think we’re entitled to them.
VBC: You want answers?
Drinkers: We want the truth!
VBC: You can handle the truth!
Q: Headwaters became my new favorite beer this week and it got me thinking about how crucial the water is to the taste of the beer. Do you use only Brandywine Creek water in all of your beers or just in Headwaters Pale Ale? What process do you use to purify the water from the Brandywine before using it in the brewing process?
A: All of our beers are made with the pristine water from the Upper East Branch of the Brandywine Creek. The headwaters of that creek are located just 14 miles from our brewery in Downingtown. What makes this water so great for brewing, is that it tastes good. Very little purification is required. All of our water is carbon filtered to remove sediment and chorine. But the natural salts and other minerals are not affected by that process, and do indeed play a role in the flavor and mouth feel of beer.
Q: Did you ever notice that watching the carbonation in a fresh glass of Prima is a lot like watching the snow falling during a winter storm? What steps do you take to ensure this level of carbonation in a finished product?
A: We have indeed noticed the beauty of Prima’s carbonation. In fact, that carbonation was carefully constructed. What you are describing is related to the amount of carbonation and also how that carbonation reacts with the Prima. Proper foam on beer is an entire field of study among brewing scientists and reflects many different beer attributes.
Do you remember learning about gas laws in high school science? The amount of carbonation is determined by those same principles. Since beer gets its natural carbonation from the fermentation process, the pressure and temperature of the beer at the end of fermentation will determine the natural CO2 level. In the case of Prima Pils, along with our other lagers, the lower temperature of fermentation allows us to capture as much CO2 in solution as we need at a pressure our tanks can tolerate. The carbonation is tested, verified, and if necessary, adjusted to our optimal carbonation level.
As far as the quality of foam and bubbles, all things will have an impact, including malt quality, hop quantity, mashing method, boiling method, trub removal, fermentation control, sanitation, microbiological control and filtration methods. Finally, very clean glassware and proper pour are the final factors that contribute to how good your Prima looks.
Q: I am on a restricted carbohydrate diet and the thing I miss most is a good beer. Do you have nutritional information for your beer that includes carb counts?
A: We are happy to hear that you want to make Victory beer part of your responsible diet. We have answered questions about calorie counts in the past, and you can find that information here. Here are the calorie and carbohydrate counts per 12 ounces of our most popular brands:
Golden Monkey: 270 calories, 19 grams of carbs.
HopDevil Ale: 215 calories, 22 grams of carbs.
Prima Pils: 165 calories, 15 grams of carbs.
Storm King Stout: 290 calories, 28 grams of carbs.
Sunrise Weiss: 175 calories, 17 grams of carbs.
Victory Lager: 145 calories, 12 grams of carbs.
Q: I haven’t been able to find cases of St. Victorious this year? What gives? I’m having favorite beer withdrawal.
A: Unfortunately, related to the capacity issues, and production puzzle we’ve talk about in the past, we had to make the difficult decision to skip bottling the saints this year. They haven’t been martyred completely though; you can find St. Victorious now on draft in a few locations and St. Boisterous on draft in just a few weeks. See if you can track them down by using our beerfinder on the web or on your mobile device. Be sure to call the bar before you venture over there to make sure they haven’t kicked the keg!
Q: I know many other beer enthusiasts share my opinion about Yakima Glory. It is an amazing beer. What are the chances that Yakima Glory could become a year round beer?
A: Thanks for the Yakima praise. We are constantly considering various opportunities to develop more year-round beer offerings, but sometimes we think the fun is in the wait. Recalling the flavors in anticipation of another November release is part of the excitement. For us here at Victory, we find enjoyment in the other plentiful and delicious Victory beers offered during the other seasons, but certainly celebrate on Yakima Glory day each fall.