Our Chili Challenge has provided mirth and fiery flavor for thousands of satisfied Victory fans over its hot history. Debuting in 2003, our Chili Challenge started as a simple premise, to create internal fires that only great beer could adequately quell. The idea came from friend “Captain” Thom of Captain Thom’s Chili Pepper Company of Baltimore. As fans of Victory beers, and Bill’s prior work at Baltimore Brewing Company, Thom and his wife brought the idea and their great spices to the first few years of Chili Challenge.
That first year’s call for entries to amateur chili cooks promised “chili will be judged by an authoritative group who know good chili and not a whole lot more… actually, their collective genius is immense and we don’t have time here to list all of their credentials and honors…” Lured by a chance to win $400 (First Place prize), $200 (Second Place prize) or the highly coveted third place prize of “Pain Is The Cure Package” – a year’s worth of Victory growler fills with a Capt. Thom’s Chili Pepper Company Sauce and Spice Sampler. Twenty cooks served a dizzying array of chili to an enthusiastic mob who participated by voting for the “People’s Pepper” as the crowd’s favorite chili.
There was “Mountain Man Chili,” a melange of game meats dutifully served by Ken in his buckskin suit, whose son, Andy, our Video Production Coordinator, carried on the tradition in 2012. Another manly crock of spice and animal flesh once featured elk, the fatal flintlock rifle, and skull of the actual animal adorning the table. Countless creative and delicious non-meat chili has been served as well.
Renovation of our restaurant in 2008 caused Chili Challenge to take a one-year hiatus. It was about that time we realized that our format, allowing chili to be served at our Chester County Health Dept. licensed restaurant that had been prepared and cooked at competitor’s homes was, um, not permissible. Oops. Since that time our Chili Challenge has been an internal struggle, pitting Victory employees against one another, to the delight of the judges and public. With ample taunting, trash talk and bravado, our chili chefs fill our own kitchen here at Victory with spice, creativity and chaos in the days before the event, all under the competent watch of our trained culinary staff.
What emerges is sheer fun. Twenty unique chili recipes are served as free samples for your discerning palate to appreciate and judge. Great beer will, of course, be flowing to subdue those internal fires. Join us here at Victory on February 10 for Chili Challenge 2013.