Among the many fabulous breweries in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, perhaps the most well regarded is Victory, in Downingtown, which is a little less than an hour from Center City. The brewery is most well known for its HopDevil Ale, a nicely bitter IPA, with good malty body and a floral scent. They also have excellent pilsener, Prima Pils, a big, grassy double IPA called HopWallop, and an outstanding, sweet weizenbock named Moonglow. Oh, and they make one of the best imperial stouts I’ve ever had: Storm King.
Storm King is the kind of unique, complex beer that can evoke strange, irrepressible desires in enthusiastic beer drinkers. Or maybe just Mrs Thursday.
Now, your average Russian Imperial Stout is a big, black beastie, with huge malty body, and generally tastes of chocolate and coffee, but without the bitterness of either. There’s a bit of alcoholic warmth, probably, but, when the beer is done right, the boozy heat is hidden under the layers of malt sweetness.
Storm King isn’t quite like that. It pours a deep black, completely opaque, with a meager tan head, even when the beer is poured aggressively. The beer smells sweet and bitter at once, with raisins and black currants and molasses and roasted coffee.
Its taste is complete in the mouth. It seems to sticky coat everything–all sides of the tongue, the insides of cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and all the way down the throat. Everything gets its own impressions. The dark fruit sweetness hits first, followed by a lightly bitter, lightly sweet coffee flavor, and then an everlasting, bitter, hoppy aftertaste from the back of the mouth on down.
An utterly outstanding beer. A lot of flavors going on, but each one so pleasant that the beer is remarkably easy to drink for something so big and bold.