By now most avid and even not-so-avid craft beer drinkers know that Victory Brewing Company has opened a brand new brewery and tap room in Parkesburg.
The tap room is an open, two-story space that features two bars. They have put their own twist on tradition pub fare with things like maple grilled brussels sprouts and house-cured ham and cheese. If you’ve been to their Downingtown location, you will also appreciate how open this is in comparison.
However, that’s not the story here.
What you need to go for is the self-guided tour that shows you every aspect of the brewery from fermentation to packaging, with engaging graphics and informative videos.
First, getting to Parkesburg from Harrisburg isn’t a bad drive. It’s only about an hour right through the heart of Amish country. The drive is a trip down memory lane for my family, as it was the old way we used to go to the beach.
Parkesburg doesn’t seem like a place for such a widely known brewery to plant its next flag, but when you pull up to the massive facility you quickly see why they chose this very open town.
Second, your reaction to this place will be, “WOAH,” because it’s huge — and it has to be to deal with the production coming from the state-of-the-art brewhouse, which includes a 200-barrel system, by the way. That is four-times larger than the Downingtown brewery, which was maxed out at 50 bbl.
Before starting the tour be sure to grab a beer. HopDevil on cask is always a go-to for me.
The tour is on the second floor and is a catwalk above the entire brewing operation.
It all starts with one of the most important components of the beer — hops. Victory’s hop room is massive, and by pushing a button you can feel like you’re standing right in the middle of it. That button is linked to a vent in the room that blows a blast of “hop air” right in your face.
Video screens are placed along the walk that give more information specific to Victory. This video shows where and how they get their hops.
After getting your fill of hop air (I pushed the button quite a few times) you will move on to the massive brewhouse. Looking at just the top of the system gives you a certain appreciation of what these brewers work with everyday.
Pick your jaws up off the floor to take a sip of beer and check out the malt room, filtration and see the whole packaging line from start to finish.
I have been through a lot of self guided brewery tours, and this one is up there with some of the best. New Belgium in Fort Collins might have them beat by just a hair.
Another thing that Victory-Parkesburg offers that no other locations do is Crowlers, and they are cheap. The price of a pint. We bought five and only spent $30.
They look pretty damn cool too.