Saturday, January 14, 2012

Headwaters Pale Ale (Victory Brewing Company)

Headwaters Pale Ale, a member of Victory's year-round product line, has showed up in a Beer Club mix-pack, and also in a sampler that beloved former coworker Kelly sent me after she went to work for the brewery. About time I posted a review of it.

The beer is an attractive pale orange color and is quite clear. An aggressive pour brings up about an inch of head, and only very slight tracing is left by the clumpy foam. It carries a pungent, "skunky" nose detectable at a distance of ten inches from the glass, with notes of sap, grapefruit zest, and vulcanized rubber. (Fear not: "skunky" is usually a term of endearment with me.)

The taste threw me a slight curve from the expectation of the nose: minimal sharp hops to begin, rolling almost immediately into quite a mellow, light malt body, then through lively carbonation into an intensely bitter, guava-tinged finish. Aftertaste is not astringent, but almost tongue-puckering in its bitterness.

To me this is lighter in weight and maltiness than the American IPAs, but a little more citrusy than an English pale ale. Very quaffable, but will put off folks like my wife who shy away from bitter things.

From the bottle's label:

Malted barley, hops and yeast are the building blocks of beer. But none of these elements would exist without water, the essence of life. The waters that feed out brewery begin just over a dozen miles away, making for spectacularly pure and vital water for brewing. Having worked with waterhshed advocacy groups since our inception, we value our headwaters, our source in many ways. We think you'll value them as well when you taste this firmly crisp and aromatically arousing pale ale.

Featured beer:
Headwaters Pale Ale

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