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Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, PA)

Well, after a four day weekend in Lower, Slower Delaware, it was time for us to head home. However, heading home meant heading back to the Philadelphia Airport, so we used the opportunity to try a few places on the way back. The first was Helen’s Sausage House in Smyrna, DE, but it turned out they were only open through lunch, and we got there about 15 minutes too late. So we headed on up to the greater Philly area, and decided to check out Victory Brewing Company’s brewpub in Downingtown, PA. I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to brewpubs run by up and coming breweries, because it’s hard to focus on both the brewery and a brewpub and do both right. Most (but not all) of the places I’ve been only manage to have enough focus to keep the brewery going, and what usually seems to happen is that really high ambitions are set for the brewpub, but there’s just not enough effort to make the brewpub as good as the beer. I’ve run into this a lot of times, having experiences some particularly disappointing meals at other brewery brewpubs (like Stone and Harpoon, to name two). There are some exceptions, but mostly those are places like Long Trail in Vermont that don’t really try to be fancy: they set a reasonable goal (“we’re selling burgers and fries”) and do that well, instead of getting fancy. But things started off pretty decently. The first challenge with Victory is getting there in the first place. With our goal being to get there around happy hour, we had quite a bit of traffic facing us coming up from Delaware. Once we got to Downingtown, however, it was relatively easy to find the industrial park where the brewery and brewpub are located. However, the signage in the park isn’t the greatest, so expect to spend a bit of time wandering around the area looking for the brewpub (a note to other seekers: it’s in the southwest corner of the area).

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Tony Luke’s (Philadelphia, PA)

As just about everyone in the country is aware of, Philly is home to one of the nation’s most iconic sandwiches: the cheesesteak. A proper cheesesteak requires the right ingredients and preparation: the right roll (Amoroso’s), the right meat (real meat, not meat product) grilled and chopped, cheese (whiz or provolone), and toppings (onions and peppers), properly assembled on the roll. I love a good cheesesteak… done right, it’s a great sandwich, and the one that Philly’s most famous for. It’s also the second best sandwich to be had in Philly. Which leads to the obvious question: what’s the best sandwich in Philly? That would be the roast pork. A close cousin to the cheesesteak, the roast pork sandwich starts with the same bread (the well-loved Amoroso roll), but replaces the grilled cheese with copious slices of fresh-roasted pork loin. But there are several places that are well-known and well-regarded as purveyors of roast pork sandwiches, including John’s Roast Pork (a James Beard award winner), DiNic’s in the Reading Terminal, and Tony Luke’s (nestled under the highway by the Walt Whitman Bridge). So when our trip to Delaware started with our arrival in Philly, we decided to duck over to Tony Luke’s for an early lunch.

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