|Victory Brewing Company
3127 Lower Valley Road | Parkesburg, PA 19365
Victory Brewing Company was founded by Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski. The pair have been friends since fifth grade and began homebrewing just after college. It wasn’t long before brewing became more than just a hobby.
Ron apprenticed at Baltimore Brewing Company (BBC), then moved on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan. Bill then took over Ron’s roll at BBC, where he won many awards for his German specialty beers. Bill then attended Doemens Institute in Munich.
Ron returned to the states and began brewing at Old Dominion Brewing Company in Virginia before he and Bill decided to open their own brewery. Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania opened on February 15, 1996 in a former Pepperidge Farm factory.
In April 2015, Victory Brewing Company opened a new brewpub location at the corner of Cypress Street and Mill Road in Kennett Square, PA. The location, known as Victory at Magnolia, was the second brewpub for the company after the Downingtown location.
On November 23, 2015, Victory opened the doors to their third brewpub, located in Parkesburg, PA. The state-of-the-art brewery is located 17 miles from the original Downingtown Brewery.
The Parkesburg brewery, located in a 212,000 square foot building on 42 acres, is able to produce 225,000 barrels per year on a German-build Rolec brewhouse. The water is sourced from a reservoir fed by the West Branch of the Brandywine River.
The two-story brewpub does not have a bad seat in the house. Sit at one of the two bars (one on each floor), grab a high table by the windows looking into the brewery, or enjoy dinner in the dining room.
The highlight of the Parkesburg location is the self-guided brewery tour upstairs, allowing visitors to experience and learn about every aspect of the brewing process.
The tour begins with Hop Storage. The display explains why Victory Brewing Company insists on using whole flower hops. Don’t miss The Victory Hopsniff. Simply push the button on the wall and enjoy the aroma of Victory’s hop room. Peer through the windows overlooking the hop freezer, and watch a video on hop harvesting before moving on.
Next up is the Brewhouse! A wall graphic explains the brewing steps from the grist mill to the hop back and a view into the 200-barrel brewhouse, which has the production capacity of ten brews per day (that’s 66,000 12-ounce bottles of beer a day!).
After that is Malt Handling where you can peek into the malt storage area, watch a video on the malting process, and read fun facts posted on the wall, including an explanation of the stages of malting. One unique wall display shows the malt make-up of various Victory beers.
Next is Fermentation – where wort becomes beer! Get a look at the elaborate network of pipes and valves that make up the fermentation cellar, and learn about yeast propagation and dosing, maturation, and filtration and clarification. An interesting wall display gives visitors a view of active fermentation.
Finally visitors experience Packaging, staring down into the impressive bottling line, which is capable of filling 250 12-ounce bottles each minute. That’s over 600 cases an hour!
I particularly enjoyed watching the kegging process. The Kegging Line Robot effortlessly palletizes the 160 pound half-barrels. I could watch that robot for hours!
Turn around and head back to the beginning of the tour to peak into the Laboratory. Learn about quality assurance, and peer jealously into the beer library. No worries, however, there’s plenty of beer to choose from back at the bar!
There were 26 beers available on tap during our visit, plus several on nitro. A few standouts included Victory Village, a 4.7% ABV brown ale with coffee added, and Zigga Zagga, a 5.8% ABV maibock. Both beers would pair perfectly with the damp, cloudy fall weather!
However, I drove to Parkesburg for one beer and one beer only, Java Cask. The 14.3% ABV coffee bourbon stout boasted dark chocolate and barley flavors with a coffee and bourbon finish. The newest offering from Victory went down easily, despite the high alcohol content. Check out the current tap list here.
The food menu at the Parkesburg brewpub features unique dishes using local ingredients, maintaining high service standards and sustaining green initiatives.
Delicious starters include roasted garlic hummus, fried tortillas with Jalapeño HopDevil cheese, and the infamous Wings of Victory.
There are several sandwich options, a full section of BBQ options from baby back ribs to hickory smoked chicken, and entrees like mac & cheese with cured pork belly.
Vegetarian options are easy to find including Quinoa with kale, butternut squash, red onions, Yellow Springs goat cheese, pumpkin seeds; Eggplant Stack with basil marinara, wilted greens, mozzarella crème, Locatelli; and Mushroom Cavatelli with wilted greens, ricotta, herb brown butter, Locatelli, truffle salt. Check out the full brewpub food menu here.
Just like the Downingtown brewpub, the Parkesburg location features Daily Menu Additions. During our visit, some stand out additions included Buffalo Fried Cauliflower, a Kale Salad, and the Caprese Burger (6oz house ground short rib and chuck beef patty, roasted roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, on a toasted sesame seed bun). Check out the current Daily Menu Additions here.
Be sure to check out the Victory shop before heading out. You can purchase beer to go, glassware and branded clothing, as well as Victory beer-inspired food items like ice cream and cheese spreads.
The brewpub is open Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM to midnight and Sunday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Last Seating in dining room Monday to Saturday is 9:45 PM and 8:45 PM on Sunday. The kitchen closes 15 minutes after last seating. Reservations for parties of eight or more are available Sunday through Thursday.
Cheers to the continued growth of Victory Brewing Company!