Victory Brewing Co., Yakima Twilight

Grade: B+
Victory Brewing Co.

Victory Brewing is known for some very decent IPAs, but Yakima Twilight is a venture into the relatively new world of dark IPAs. The challenge is balancing the elements of hoppy bitterness with roasty bitterness, traditionally two elements in beer that have been mutually exclusive. I think this beer achieves balance between the two, while slipping in an undetectable 8.7% ABV to boot.

A tan head leaps up from the glass, thick and rocky. The beer is garnet, with brown tints and a small amount of cloudiness. Hops are forward in the aroma, pine needles and bitter orange peel mix together. The mouthfeel is coming across fairly medium, with a good amount of carbonation. Hops come through in the flavor, herbs, spice, and resin. Some fruity esters from the yeast mix with the herbal hops, peach and light stone fruit. There is a roast element here as well, but it's not too heavy handed. The hops are not only adding a very solid bitterness to this beer, but they also play a bit part in the flavor itself. There is a slight off-flavor of plastic coming through in the aftertaste, most likely from those whole leaf hops.

The hops used in this beer come from the Yakima Valley in Washington, and are generally considered the most aggressive, and uniquely American. The dark malts used here are well played, adding just enough body and roast to compliment the hops. Something else to consider here, this beer is 8.7% alcohol by volume. Unless you look at the label, you would have no idea it was this strong. The balance achieved with these pungent hops, roasty malts, and high ABV is a testament to the brewer's skill. Victory is a brewery that sometimes goes under the radar, but really shouldn't. They are certainly on my short list of best IPAs, and this dark IPA is another example of an American brewery mastering the use of the hop.