May 6, 2011

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale label

Pennsylvania-based Victory Brewing is one of those companies that just feels more local than they really are — despite the couple of states that separate the brewery and myself. As such, I tend to drink a good variety of their products in order to support them. That means that whenever I see a new beer from the brewery it’s usually the first thing to hit the cashier’s counter when it’s time to open up the wallet.

This new year-round beer was brewed to mark the brewery’s 15th anniversary and is named after the water with which the company crafts their product. It’s a refreshing 5.1% ABV pale ale (that uses unspecified whole flower American hops) and, according to the brewery, is their fastest growing brand. It’s easy to see why after having put away a couple of these. It’s a tasty brew.


Golden amber in color, a large white head sits atop the brew.


Headwaters has a really nicely balanced nose with hints of lightly toasted malt, caramel, a light sweetness, grapefruit, spicy hops and a light pine presence.


Again, the balance that the aroma hinted at is in full force on the palate. A combination of caramel and bready malts start it off as the beer quickly flows to a decent level of hops that carry a fairly good bit of bitterness toward the finish. Hints of lemon, tangerine and grapefruit all interplay with a light herbal hop note. The crisp, refreshing mouthfeel makes this brew very drinkable and, at a somewhat low ABV, just about sessionable, as well.


It’s no wonder Headwaters Pale Ale is Victory’s quickest growing brand. The beer is well crafted with an excellent balance between a decent malt backbone and accessible hop presence. It’s not an extreme beer by any measure — just a beer that you can sit down with at a family picnic or a ball game. I will most certainly be picking up more of it very soon.


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