Victory Brewing, which has acted as a point of entry for many into craft beer, is branching out even further, its roots solidly planted after 17 years in the area. Victory recently released a new line of beers to shift with the currents of the craft beer audience. One juicy and earthy beer in particular, DirtWolf, has been quietly gaining some pretty high acclaim from double IPA drinkers since its release.
When asked about the impetus for the new line of beers, Bill Covaleski, co-founder of Victory, mentions following a shifting and dedicated market, “We had lots of great recipe ideas and wanted to bring them to life. Our audience was telling us something…we love acting on their cues.”
In speaking with Bill, one picks up that Victory is just as passionate about being part of the craft beer culture as it was at its inception. DirtWolf, a double IPA settling in at 8.7%, is certainly a product of that pioneering spirit. Their recent experiment with their Ranch IPA has produced two different tangents— one, their recently released Hop Ranch imperial IPA, the other being DirtWolf. For a long time, the process of naming the beers was an enjoyable creative exercise between Bill and the other half of Victory’s founding team, Ron Barchet. As the company has grown, opportunities such as naming have been opened up within the walls of Victory, and the name for this particular beer was offered by one of their regional sales managers, RJ Ober. DirtWolf ’s name was partially inspired by its ingredients—‘humus ’, meaning ‘earth’ or ‘dirt’ is taken from the botanical name of the hops, Humulus lupulus.
Bill adds, “We love the offhand connection to terroir and the unrestrained edge of the name. It fits the beer aptly, we feel.”
Victory uses whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops along with two row malts in crafting DirtWolf ’s complex flavor. On first sip, the attention-grabbing bitterness is deceptively hidden by the nicely balanced hops, adding a floral, fruity tone before it all quickly and smoothly dissipates with little aftertaste. It seemingly takes one or two beers to figure out everything that’s going on inside. The ‘wolf ’ in the name certainly seems apt.