This blog documents my attempt to drink a beer from every country in the world and every state in the United States.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

State #10: Pennsylvania

Beer: Headwaters Pale Ale

Brewery: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, Pennsylvania

ABV: 5.1%

This beer would have been more victorious had it filled the glass. But it was still tasty.
As a New York sports fan, I am loath to think positively about the word “victory” if it has anything to do with anything near Philadelphia. The Eagles and the Phillies in particular can both go to hell, and their fans can go with them.  But Victory Brewing Company is okay in my book. Located in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, about thirty miles away from Philly as the crow flies, they have my blessing to keep winning.

This man has been victorious over many cheeseburgers, but not in very many playoff games.
As far as what, exactly, has emerged victorious, they claim it is “your taste,” and I wouldn’t argue with them. Victory's beers are loaded with hops and are universally thick and flavorful. The brew I had most recently here, Headwaters Pale Ale, tastes like a California-style pale ale (that is to say, like an IPA from anyplace else), while their IPAs that I’ve tasted are over-the-top hoppy; the names HopDevil and Hop Wallop are not being pretentious. 

As long as it's not victory for Andy Reid, who, as a Mormon, somehow got that fat without drinking a single beer.
Incidentally, if you look at the map of states that I’ve completed for this blog, it is starting to resemble a map evocative of a victory of a different kind: 

Don't worry, keep reading. I only get a TINY bit political here. Seriously.
Allow me to be political for just a moment, without going off-topic. Yes, the trend you see on my map has a lot to do with my own personal geography. I live in California, and I stocked up on beers from the Northeast while I was back visiting family in Connecticut before I started this blog (Victory’s beers are available at the store three blocks from my house in San Diego, though). However, there is still a correlation between my map and the Obama victory map from 2008.  Follow my logic:

1) Since 1978, when homebrewing was FINALLY legalized at the federal level in the United States, it has been up to the individual states to enact laws legalizing homebrewing.

2) Many of the more conservative states were slow to legalize it. Utah only legalized homebrewing in 2009, and Oklahoma in 2010. Alabama and Mississippi, clearly the two most backwards states in the country, still forbid it.

3) Almost every craft brewery is founded by someone who got their start in homebrewing, and the innovation inherent to homebrewing is the reason why we don’t have to drink shitty beer. (I’ve referenced the article linked here before, but if you haven’t read it, it’s a good read).

4) States that have a long history of legal homebrewing tend to foster more (and better) craft breweries. It is difficult to get beer from states that don’t have this history. So, Alabama and Mississippi, what gives? You are quashing an industry that fosters innovation and competition, while would provide much-needed tax revenue for your empty coffers!

Obligatory bottle cap picture.
Finally, Victory is also to be commended for their efforts at environmental stewardship. The name of this beer, Headwaters, refers to the upper reaches of the Brandywine River watershed, from which the brewery gets its water. In order to maintain the integrity of this watershed, they have set up a non-profit dedicated to its protection, and are donating a percentage of the profits from each bottle of Headwaters Pale Ale to the cause. Cheers to that.

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