Victory at Red Star Craft House In Exton
By David Jones
Those of you who have read my articles in the past may remember a review I did of Red Star Craft House in the Exton Mall shortly after they opened in Early December 2014.
Since Parkesburg has a strong affiliation with Victory Brewery now, I decided to venture back to Red Star for a five course tasting menu of Victory beers.
We were told this is the first of many tasting parties they will be hosting at Red Star. In the future they hope to have more pairings with other breweries, wine dinners and even a bourbon tasting dinner is in the works.
We started our evening with oysters on the half shell paired with Victory’s Session 19 anniversary brew in honor of their 19th year in business. The oysters were topped with a cucumber/mirin wasabi mignonette/tobbiko. This was a delightful start. The topping was light with a hint of spice and paired well with the lighter session style beer.
Our second course was wood grilled scallops paired with Victory’s Summer Love, another beer on the light side with slightly more hops. The scallops came with a sample of ricotta gnocchi/maitake mushrooms and tomato basil butter. The pairing was good and the scallops were delicious. The gnocchi was a little dry and tough.
The third course was roast Italian pork steak paired with Victory’s Dirt Devil Double IPA. The pork was dressed with broccoli rabe pesto/truffle whipped potatoes and sharp provolone. Once again a very nice dish, though the pork was just a little on the dry side for my taste.
The next course was roasted turkey wings that included tails/scallion and tasso ham hush puppies. It was paired with Victory’s Kirsch Rose. The wings and tails were smoked to perfection, but by this time I just couldn’t eat much more and I had to pack most of it to go home. The hush puppy was huge and very good if you like puppies, which I do. The Kirsch Rose was not too my liking at all.
I honestly don’t know what Victory is trying to do with this brew. The Rose is way too sweet and too carbonated and after a sip I was done with it. As I looked around at the other tables I would say the majority felt the same way. Although I will say that after being served 42 ounces of beer prior to this one, you do get a little selective about what else you can handle.
The finishing touch for the evening was a delightful Victory Beer Float. This included Storm King ice cream/Victory root beer and maraschino cherries. Served in a full pint glass, this is a meal in itself! It had lots of chocolate and nuts added as well and was quite good.
Victory’s ice cream is very tasty, but can be hard to find and it’s not cheap. You can definitely get it at their pubs in Downingtown and Kennett Square. I like it a lot, but would reserve it for special occasions.
This dessert came with a 6 ounce serving of Storm King Stout. I ate the float with a little help from Lin, but I couldn’t do more than one sip of the stout. Although Imperial Stout is my absolute favorite brew, I haven’t found Victory’s Storm King to my liking. For my taste, the bitterness overwhelms the other flavors that I prefer, like coffee and/or chocolate.
All-in-all this was good food and way too much beer for me. There are lots of beer aficionados who can’t get enough of Victory’s brews. I am a little less enthusiastic. Now that there is a brewery in almost every town you travel to and people even brewing out of their garages, there are lots of beers I have found much more approachable and less hoppy.
I know the more hops the better for lots of folks, but for my taste I enjoy the malts and added flavors, particularly when coffee is in the mix.
This dinner had a price of $50 which is very reasonable for what you get, but Lin and I could have had one dinner and it would have been MORE than enough for the two of us. For one person, there’s no way you can eat and drink all of this.
If you want to try one of these dinners I would suggest one person get the taster and the other order a light appetizer off the regular menu and then help finish the sampler. With Red Star planning a Bourbon tasting dinner in the future, I just can’t imagine what that will be like.