I was out in Channahon/Minooka Kimona-wanna-laya at the Route 6 beer store and spotted a relatively nondescript four-pack on the shelf. It was another beer from Victory called Dirt Wolf Double IPA. I was pretty much in an IPA mood at that time. I grabbed my phone and fired up Beer Buddy. Took a quick screenshot of the bar code and got review results. The results were outstanding. I decided to purchase the beer in spite of the fact that Victory’s 20th Anniversary Imperial Pils was such a turn-off last weekend.
I started to fret over writing about one brewery two weeks in a row, then I remembered Dogfish Head and that other one that I unremembered. Yeah, that one. So, screw it. I bought the four pack and sauntered, sashayed, meandered, ambled and strode out the door back to my truck.
Back home, it went right into the fridge. I had a closer look at this beer online. Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. You can’t go wrong with that lineup.
One of my sons was hosting a UFC pay per view fight night at his house and I always have a standing invitation. I could go for a one-beer short time and come home for Dirt Wolf, but I didn’t want to spoil my palate for the upcoming wonderfulness that I knew was coming. I could do the write up at his house while enjoying the fights and camaraderie. I could skip the review and stay there over night. But I wasn’t in the mood to travel. I was in the mood for a double IPA.
The time approached. I grabbed my trusty tulip glass and a cold Dirt Wolf. Here we go on another adventure in taste.
The first sip was out of this world. What a great tasting beer! It had a big mouthfeel and some nice sweetness in the front. The rasp at the swallow was covered up a bit but a slight heat lingered in the back after the charge had been swallowed. It looks like the brewer got the numbers right and created a perfect balance of malts and hops.
There was something about the hops in this beer that makes it so memorable. There was just a slight bit of yellow citrus notes, but overall, the flavors I detected were tropical red fruits blended in as well. Victory’s website perfectly described what I was drinking:
This dangerously delicious recipe features often subtle, but sometimes assertive signatures of American hop varieties. Look for: Citra: heavy citrus aroma, fruity flavor; Chinook: grapefruit, resinous pine; Simcoe: dry, piney; and Mosaic: earthy and mildly floral, with notes of sweet citrus and spice.
Yep. That was it. No exaggeration, no fibs or mistruths and no market-speak. For me the grapefruit was barely detectable as was the pine. All the rest was there. It made for a great tasting beer.
It is correctly classified as a DIPA with its ABV just about centered in the middle of the scale for this style of beer. I’d say that this beer was designed for the hoppy beer lover who also likes subtle sweetness. That may describe yours truly. With each sip, I get a bit more admiration for the beverage called beer.
Victory is pseudo-temporarily replacing their Hop Wallop Ale which had been their flagship hop bomb for the last ten years. Now in rotation is Dirt Wolf, the name a tribute to the hop plant. (Read the description in the RB rating to get a better idea.) With the Mosaic and Citra hops, Dirt Wolf approaches and perhaps exceeds the likes of Zombie Dust, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed and others of this type. I don’t know how it happened, but many of the main stream breweries have single hopped pale ales and IPAs. Maybe soon, the New Zealand hops will catch fire in the US and we’ll have more unique beer flavors to enjoy.
As for Dirt Wolf, it will be on my regular rotation list as well, whenever I’m in the mood for some hop fruitiness and/or fruity hoppiness. You will not regret buying this beer.
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
Taste: Fruity sweetness without raspy, scraped tonsils.
Smoothness: After sip #2, the sips start going down a bit more frequently.
Drinkability: Pleasant and very enjoyable. No surprises.
Bang for the buck: About on par with other craft beers of the style.
Amount paid: $11.99 for a four-pack of 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Oh hell yeah.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Smells fruity. (sip) Oh, it’s dry, but it’s not very bitter considering. (sip) Yeah… dry. (sip) But other than that it’s doable. (The sweet gets ’em every time.)
Victory DirtWolf Double IPA [2:27]