Many brewers decide to “go big” when crafting an anniversary beer, but Victory Brewing Company has decided to “go wide.” Instead of crafting a rare and complex brew to celebrate their 15th anniversary, Victory has decided to stand behind what makes them great – crafting delicious beers that most anyone will love while supporting their local community.
The result is Headwaters Pale Ale, a 5.1% ABV beer made with all German malts (not a shocker for Victory) and citra and centennial hops. It is a crisp and earthy delight, a beer full of flavor that doesn’t weigh you down. Think Dale’s Pale Ale, but a tad less cloying and without the mild sting of alcohol on the back end. It’s a very good beer, thanks in part to where the water used to brew it comes from.
Headwaters Pale Ale was named in honor of the headwaters of the Brandywine River’s east branch, the water source used to brew every Victory beer. The beer was kept simple in order to let the water shine through in the flavor. It’s not watery by any stretch, but if the water sucked you could certainly taste it, so good thing it doesn’t. Actually, the composition of the Brandywine’s water is very similar to that found in Munich, Germany, home to many a wonderful beer.
There will be an ecological/charitable component to Headwaters Pale Ale, as Victory is planning to use the beer as platform to bring attention to the cause of watershed preservation. I’m all for that, as better water equals better beer. Expect more on this around Earth Day, as the details are still being worked out.
I got a sneak preview of Headwaters Pale Ale yesterday at a bloggers brunch at Victory. Co-Founder Bill Covaleski held court in their famous Brewer’s Booth and filled us in on the details behind the brew.
I asked Bill why they chose to celebrate their anniversary with a mass appeal-beer like Headwaters instead of something rare and fancy like Dark Intrigue. His answer was refreshingly honest – Headwaters was scheduled to release around the anniversary, so they decided to slap the “anniversary”label on it. It got a pretty good laugh from the folks around the table.
Then Bill went on to say that he’s happy the timing worked out this way, because he’d rather celebrate with a beer that everyone could get a taste of instead of something that’s nearly impossible to sample. He also likes that Headwaters is sessionable, so you can share a few with your friends without falling over. This supports the spirit of community you find at their brew pub in Downingtown, PA. Add the fact that the brew celebrates and supports the environment, and I can’t think of a better beer to showcase just what Victory stands for after 15 years of brewing.
Headwaters Pale Ale should be hitting shelves now (depending on where you live – good luck Idaho!) and will be available year-round. I think it’s one of the better session beers available anywhere, and it’s going to be in constant supply in my fridge, especially as the weather warms up. I just wish they’d can this stuff so I could take it to the lake. Guess I’ll just have to “suffer” with Dale’s. 😉