Periodically, Victory in Downingtown has these ladies-only beer pairings to encourage and support women in the craft beer community. I’ve been to a few in the past (beer & cheese, beer & chocolate, etc.) and was super pumped to hear about the summery-themed pairing for this time of year: beer and ice cream! The event would feature six flavors of ice cream using reduced wort from six different brew Victory regularly makes. Normally, I have a good-sized crew to roll up to an event like this. This time, it was just me and no lack of plus ones was going to stop me from enjoying this pairing. I’m totally okay being awkward-girl in the room, just give me lots of ice cream.
To start off the tasting, I went immediately for the one featuring a summer favorite, the Summer Love.
Oh, yes. This ice cream tasted like a smores/pb combo of awesome and tempered the slight bitter flavor Summer Love has. The pairing was spot on and was a home run for my first taste! I already loved this beer, so I wasn’t surprised the ice cream they made to go with was equally fantastic. Each station had two flavors, so after finishing this I just moved over to the next one.
Now, generally the idea of orange and chocolate together has made me raise an eyebrow (really both because I cannot actually raise just one eyebrow). But, I went for it and was pleasantly rewarded with a great combo of the flavors. The zest was a little crispy and added a good texture to the ice cream and the fruity/banana aspect of the Mad King went so well with the treat. I was only two deep and wanted seconds. So much for healthy eating… haha.
Here is where I entered heaven. Things I have not tried: avocado ice cream, ice cream with bacon, and all that together in one. I mashed the bacon into the ice cream and entered nirvana. I can’t even tell you much about the Festbier (it’s actually a nice, solid brew, not a ton of the hop kick Victory can be known for, def a repeat drinking type beer) with it because I was too busy having a moment. I know the Summer Love pairing was my favorite to start, but seriously this was even better. I had seconds, and a third. Don’t judge me.
I want you in my life again…
Next up I went for the cucumber kolsch sorbet (sorry the first pic is blurred, #smartphoneproblems). This is the second time I’ve had a kolsch and cuke pairing at one of their events and I just am not sold on it. The sorbet was different and light, but I just was not a fan. Last time they did a cold cucumber soup with the kolsch and I wasn’t thrilled with that either. Apparently, the pairing is just not for me.
Four down, only two more to go. We took a break from gorging on ice cream to listen to a brief demo about how the ice creams were crafted. Most of their flavors use wort they will boil to reduce the liquid and super-concentrate the flavors. We got to try concentrated wort from their regular dessert menu ice creams which feature Hop Devil, Golden Monkey, and Storm King. I’ve tasted wort before both at Brew Dog (so fun) and from when I made my homebrew (I’ll get back to that another time) so it was neat to see how much sweeter the reduced versions were.
We were asked so far which ice cream pairing was our favorite (I’m pretty sure everyone in the room now knew I love bacon) and then moved on to finish up.
The watermelon and lime sorbet was nicely refreshing, but didn’t have the wow factory the first three pairings did. Maybe I should have gone in the reverse order I did. It is definitely a classic summer flavor, but I was hankering for the rock-my-socks impact the others had.
I rebounded a bit with the Donnybrook pairing. It has a nice, thick texture and a savory, smokey flavor, classic stout. My only regret with this is that I didn’t get to it sooner, because as you can see they were pretty melted and was more of a creamy soup than soft-serve. However, the chocolately flavor was a perfect match with the Donnybrook.
Thoroughly satisfied. I always love these events because even if you go with people, you end up making a new friend or two while chatting about beer. The pairings are always phenomenal and you can pick the brains of the hosts to get an idea where the inspirations came from. I’m really tempted now to try setting aside a little bit of wort from my next homebrew batch and trying to make an ice cream flavor with it.
If you’re a local lady (these tend to be on Mon or Tues nights) and love beer, I really recommend heading to one of GJWHS events. Afterwards, a few usually hang around to order some apps and enjoy a few more beers before moving on for the evening. Sticking around paid off as I finally got to try the Old Horizontal (it was always kicked any time I asked, curses!) from 2009 no less thanks to the awesome bar staff that works at the brewpub. Victory always has a good calendar of events going on. My hope is that they bring back their beer & yoga series and you can be sure I’ll be coming to another Girls Just Wanna Have Suds! Cheers!
PS – to those of you that are hop-heads, happy IPA day to you! What did you enjoy?