Review: Victor-23 Brewing, Vancouver, WA

Review: Victor-23 Brewing, Vancouver, WA One of the newest breweries in Vancouver, Victor-23 Brewing opened back in September 2016 and is going strong today. Their name is based on the historical figure D.B. Cooper, who hijacked a commercial flight out of Portland and jumped from it over the Cascades with $200,000 in randsom money, never to be seen again. They use the airline and parachute theme with their branding and decor at the brewery location with some great artwork, and the name Victor-23 was the call-sign of that infamous flight. It works pretty well in creating a unique environment to enjoy their local brews. As shown, you can see a pretty good sized brewing system in place and they’ve started barrel aging some of their beers recently. They are also doing some custom blends with smaller batches to experiement with the product. You have to ask for them at the bar, they are not on the beer list.

One of the great things about them, is that they are located less than 2 minutes away from my job, so I’m able to stop by on a Friday for drinks with my friends without much hassle. I was lucky to visit them the day they opened back in September 2016 with some friends and we were able to speak a bit with the head brewer Eric Rolerkite, formerly of Alameda Brewing Co. in Portland about their vision and what they are planning in the way of beers, barrel aging, and various other techniques. Thier patio is great for hanging out when it’s not raining, and inside, they have plenty of tables to push together or if you’re able to sit up at the custom bar. The beer list is available in print as well as behind the bar on the wall. They also offer up some swag behind the bar, so ask them for some stickers, a hat, or growler.

For this review, we visited Victor-23 on Friday, Feb. 3rd. with some of my usual Friday “Couve Crew” and we did a full line up of tasters and some food. They do in-house smoked brisket and pulled pork, which is offered in a few formats, for us we enjoyed them with the nachos. Their food is high quality, which pairs well with their great tasting beers. They’ve slowly added to their lineup of beers, expanding the range of styles and the occasional barrel aged brew. This time around, they offered up nine beers, and out of these one was a pino barrel aged Mexican Imperial Stout, which was an interesting take on a chili stout.

As shown, the review goes front to back, right to left with the Mile High Blond and Skyjacker IPA as group favorites. They do offer beer specials during the week on growler fills and their pint prices are cheaper than most other breweries in the area. So, overall you should definately check them out if you’re ever in Vancouver and can drive over to their location on St. Johns. Blvd. (just east of downtown Vancouver, between 4th Plain Blvd. and SR-500). They are a great addition to the local brewing scene and I hope they can keep up the quality of their beers over time while pushing their recipes and styles.

Victor-23 Brewing
2905 St. Johns Blvd
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: 360-984-5413

Mile High Blond
Victor-23 Brewing • Golden Ale/Blond Ale • IBU: 15 • ABV: 4.7% • SRM: 3
Appearance: Bright straw yellow, flat draft with minimial white head, some lingering lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Nose has hints of refined sugar and dried cereal.
Taste: Mellow flavor profile, corn-like and wet breads. Hops are slight herbal and grassy, hidden well behind the thin cracker malts.
Mouthfeel: Thin watery with some hints of effervescence and carbonation on the tongue, flavors drop quickly on the back.
Overall: Great sipper on a hot day, thinner ale with low ABV lets you enjoy without strong flavor profiles.
Drop Zone IRA
Victor-23 Brewing • Red Ale – Imperial / Double • IBU: 85 • ABV: 8.8% • SRM: 24
Appearance: Clear darker copper/reddish draft with a small dots of lacing, some retention on the head.
Smell/Aroma: Smell is of burned sugars, chewy bread, and hints of spices.
Taste: The front is stronger caramel and roasted malts, some burned crusty aspects show up on the mid. The hops are really secondary on this with some dry/acidic hints on the back from the roast more than the hops.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, solid mouthfeel with plenty of flavors way past the swallow. The texture is clean, almost velvety.
Overall: Great bold complex set of grains, some muted hops and bitterness help it along. The alcohol is well hidden, so don’t pound it even if you want to.
Skyjacker IPA
Victor-23 Brewing • India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 60 • ABV: 6.5% • SRM: 10
Appearance: Orange clear draft with some large bubbly white head, minor retention, some spotty lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Some vegital and fresh cut grass on the nose, prickly in nature.
Taste: Dry hop forward, leafy, earthy spices and secondary crackery malts behind the hints of pine needles to zesty citrus notes. Yeast shows up with some hay to grassy qualities, almost verging on vegital in nature on the tongue. The bitters linger well through to the back.
Mouthfeel: Dense vibe on the tongue with strong carbonation and hop bitter flavors overpowering everything.
Overall: Solid NW Style IPA with a complex range of hops and a forward bitter approach. Classic demonstration of NW IPA.
Flight 305
Victor-23 Brewing • Red Ale – American Amber / Red • IBU: 35 • ABV: 5.2% • SRM: 25
Appearance: Dark red/ruby clear pour with a bit of lacing from the white foamy head, minimal retention.
Smell/Aroma: Sweet breads, hints of roasted grains to woodsy pine and spice on the nose.
Taste: Sweet caramel malts forward with decent levels of resinous pine cones and dark charred bread. Grapefruit and citrus based hops are secondary to the strong malt profile. Some hints of chocolate and dried fruits show up towards the back.
Mouthfeel: Got lots of carbonation, full-bodied, solid back end that has burned breads and sweet toffee notes.
Overall: Strong amber ale with intense grains and hints of fruity hops really bring a level of complexity that is appreciated in this style.
Victor-23 Brewing • Stout – Imperial / Double • IBU: 67 • ABV: 9% • SRM: 40
Appearance: Dark brown, watered down coffee, hazy in appearance. With a solid tan head and tons of lacing with good retention.
Smell/Aroma: Roasted coffee, tons of sweet breads, hints of char.
Taste: The roasted grain build shows on the front with great amounts of dried nuts. It expresses some molasses and dry coffee on the mid, back end is roasted with some minor acidic hops from the burned natures of the grains.
Mouthfeel: Chewy front but with a thinner back end, watery almost. The carbonation is just right, with lots of prickly action on the tongue.
Overall: There are some over-powering coffee and burned stouts out there, this one almost hits that level. It’s got plenty of alcohol punch and the back washes lots of bitters and roasted flavors.
Night Jumper Brown
Victor-23 Brewing • Brown Ale – American • IBU: 11 • ABV: 3.9% • SRM: 30
Appearance: Black to brown, hints of red in the light, clear draft, off-white head and some minor retention and lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Roasted grains, sweet syrups on the nose.
Taste: Lighter flavors, hit on the sweeter side of the bread crust and nutty nature of the malts. Hops are again secondary with some herbal to grassy hints. Dried fruits expressed on the back a bit with low after-taste.
Mouthfeel: Thin, somewhat watery, low carbonation drops off quickly.
Overall: This is a good sessionable brown, not over-roasted, not too strong with the hops, just right.
Terminal Velocity
Victor-23 Brewing • Rye IPA • IBU: 65 • ABV: 7.2% • SRM: 20
Appearance: Dark orange/red to copper colored clear draft with a slight off-white frothy head that dropped to a scheen. Minor lacing with some larger bubbles.
Smell/Aroma: Herbal and dried leafs on the nose.
Taste: Stronger hop profile against the sweet dry rye. Like sucking on a handfull of dried grass on the mid. Some yeasty metallic and young wet hops show up on the back.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation, some prickly acidic dancing on the tongue.
Overall: This is a strong rye IPA with over-hopped and intense flavors that compete with the grainbuild.
Victor-23 Brewing • Stout – Imperial / Double • IBU: 55 • ABV: 11.2% • SRM: 40
Appearance: Solid opaic black draft with a frothy brown/tan head, lots of retention, lots of foamy lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Roasted chocolates, dried fruit, sweet molasses, minimal spice.
Taste: Front is solid burned coffee and bright maple sweet grains compete for room on the tongue. Hops are non-existant. Yeast is mouth-coating and mild.
Mouthfeel: Silky and smooth on the front, coast the tongue on the back, lingers bitterness from the grains, no heat from the grains, just hints of vegital on the back.
Overall: This is an odd sweeter stout with chilis that don’t really show up to the party. Overpowering roasted flavors cover up everything.
Pino Barrel aged Extortion
Victor-23 Brewing • Stout – Imperial / Double • IBU: 55 • ABV: 11.2% • SRM: 40
Appearance: Solid opaic black draft with a frothy brown/tan head, lots of retention, lots of foamy lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Roasted chocolates, grape skin acidity.
Taste: The barrel aging did impart some acidic fruits on top of the solid burned/roasted grainbuild. Hops are completely gone, spice is really hidden behind the sweet chocolate notes.
Mouthfeel: Thinner than straight draft, still has lots of flavors bouncing around the tongue with low carbonation dropping the flavors flat.
Overall: This is an interesting approach to treating a sweeter stout. Not sure the pino grape fruits help or hurt the spices, it’s sort of a flatter version of the un-aged draft stout.

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