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beerFirst, a picture that seems irrelevant.

IMG_1460What is that?  That is water.  Friends, be healthy.  I let myself get a bit dehydrated and the last taste test gave me a headache, as did the cider I drank the next night.  Drink water.  Copious amounts.  If you live in the states, you have EPA regulated tap water, literally dozens of water filters of every style, and the ability to drink as much water as you like for relatively cheap.  Take advantage and don’t let your beer give you a headache.

Now to the fun part.  So I made it out of the liquor store last Sunday with two things that cost less than $15 combined, and both were amazing.  How often does that happen?IMG_1461

The $15 total doesn’t happen much, but the good things do.  And this is a good thing.  It’s a pricey thing – which I can understand if you avoid – but it’s pretty awesome.

Victory Brewing Company’s Red Thunder

Appearance: Dark, dark brown with a nice light-brown head.

IMG_1463It isn’t quite black – you can’t see it but at the bottom where the glass thins that it’s brown – but it is quite dark.  Much like a porter is supposed to be.  What it interesting, though, is what you see when you pour.  It’s definitely got red in it, too.  This isn’t the red of a red ale but real, obvious red.  Wish I had caught that on film; it surprised me.

Scent: I can get a hint of the malty, cocoa scent of a porter with a weird undertone of red wine cask.  It smell a lot lighter than I would anticipate; I expected a darker, heavier, chocolate and stout smell and that’s not what I got.  Definitely red wine cask and a hint of cocoa.

Taste: Oh!  At first all I think of is, “Wow, really not what I expected.  Like, blown away confused by what I just took a sip of.”  It is an incredibly complex taste.  The dry from aging in a red wine barrel shines through in a very delightful way.  I can taste the dark malts under it, and a hint of hops.  The malt flavor is definitely dark and yet the beer seems light (as opposed to heavy).  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it refreshing, but it definitely isn’t a tough beer to drink in that respect.  Difficult to fully appreciate, maybe, but not difficult to drink.

Quality: Really, if it was anything other than excellent, I would have complained by now.  To get a beer that is enjoyable, complex, and sells for how much this cost me, the quality has to be there.

Drinkability: In terms of enjoyment, quality, taste, and heaviness, this goes down easy; in that respect, it is very drinkable.  Much like complex foods, though, it almost seems like a workout to drink it.  There’s a reason you drink these kinds of beer occasionally while you have a six-pack of Blue Moon (or your particular choice) in the fridge at all times; it’s not that Blue Moon is better but that Blue Moon is easier to drink a couple of.

Overall: No regrets whatsoever.  This is wonderful, one of a kind, and very delicious.  The only things I can say that might not be positives is it is incredibly complex for a beer (can go either way on that) and the red wine barrel aging – which makes it a bit drier and adds a unique flavor – might turn off some drinkers.  I think it’s wonderful, but I could listen to arguments thinking it’s too much.

Unbiased: A/A-.  I think it’s wonderful, but the complexity might be too much for a beer.  To their credit they call it a malt beverage but it’s a porter, making it a beer, and it maybe shouldn’t be as complex.

Biased: A+.  Who gives a crap?  This stuff is amazing.  I’m so happy I saw it and decided to get it; it’s not something I might have normally tried but wow, is it good.

Victory Brewing Company’s page for Red Thunder

To trying something new out of the blue and really winning when you do!  And rhyming, kinda, when you don’t mean to!

– Robby