Posted by: Michael | 6 November 2012

Brew Review #10: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

Beer: Headwaters Pale Ale

Brewer: Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA

Style: Pale Ale*

ABV: 5.1%

Unfortunately, I can’t provide photos for the next few reviews – I don’ t like how the images for this beer turned out, and the following two were reviewed in a rather dark ale house. I value the appearance of my beer, but I hope what follows is useful anyway. Take note of what I’ve included at the end here, as well.

Victory has some high-sounding praise for this pale ale; their site says “Our brewery is blessed with exceptionally pure water that travels just over a dozen miles to reach our brewery. With this pristine water we have transformed local floral American hops and subtle, crisp German malts into a refreshing delight.” To my mind a lot of bad stuff could get into the water over those twelve miles, but the Scottish with their whiskey would say that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Victory also maintains a blog, with an interesting post on water here.

I bought Victory Brewing’s Headwaters Pale Ale on a spontaneous excursion to Citywide Liquors in Mishawaka. They had it in their make-your-own-sixer cooler (I went with just four, as I had my eye on the New Belgium Frambozen that had just rolled off the delivery truck, too).

With the shaker pint controversy fresh in my mind I turned to a Duval-branded snifter for this beer. It poured out a nice amber color with a rather thin head; the lacing was patchy once I started drinking. Whether due to the glass or not, I did notice a steady stream of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass all the way to the top throughout the review – maybe that’s a great point in favor of specialized drinkware.

The aroma on this beer was good – deliciously floral, with a sweet, cloying citrus note in the background. All in all, not particularly surprising for pale ale. Nothing to write home about, but decent.

The palate on this pale ale isn’t particularly surprising. Plenty of that classic floral flavor, with just a bit of honey in there. It’s quite balanced between brightness and depth. With that in mind, though, it is slightly astringent, and the mouthfeel is a little thin. That citrus note that I mentioned above in the aroma disappears here. I like pale ales that can stand up to whatever I may be eating at the time – when I drink a thin beer, I feel like I ought to be chugging it out of a plastic cup with a ping pong ball at the bottom. I don’t want to do that with anything aside from The Beer That Shall Not Be Named.

This beer wasn’t a bad experience. I paid a whopping $1.85 for this as a single bottle, and I’d say it was worth the price of admission. But would I make a special trip for it? No, probably not. This is another one of those beers that I’d be happy to give someone if they were looking for an introduction to the category.

For a better breakdown of the individual components of this beer – for those of you looking for a numerical score, that is – check out my review on Pintley. They don’t allow links back to their site, but I can be found under the username maskaggs.

Don’t forget – alcohol is meant to be enjoyed, but it can hurt you and those around you. Drink responsibly – buzzed driving is drunk driving, too. Enjoy your fine brews in moderation, and don’t be afraid to know when it’s time to stop or call for a driver. There’s no shame in handing your keys to someone else. As they say over at Beer Advocate – Respect Beer!

* – Link goes to the BJCP “American Pale Ale” entry, as they do not provide a typical description for the generically-described “Pale Ale.”



  1. […] my review of Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, I referred to the so-called (ok, “called by me”) Shaker pint controversy. This is the industry […]

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