Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

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.

Bill Covaleski (left) shares the genesis of Headwaters. And yes - I was the only guy there without facial hair!

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. 😉

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Categories: Beer, review

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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8 Comments on “Victory Headwaters Pale Ale”

  1. February 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Jimbo!

    This is the 2nd Headwaters Pale Ale review that I’ve read today (here’s a link to the other one: http://insearchofbeer.org/2011/02/14/victorys-headwaters-pale-ale/)! Sounds like a delicious beer, and it’s coming out just in time for the Spring thaw. Since I’m in Philly, it should be available soon (hopefully on draught too!). I’ll report back and let you know what I think as soon as I get to try it.

    Peace Yo!
    G-LO

    • February 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      That’s funny – the In Search of Beer guy (Ryan) was sitting right next to me at the event. Lew Bryson and Jack Curtain were there as well, so you can read more about it if you like – but I recommend drinking it instead. It’ll be on tap @ Victory tomorrow and on shelves soon.

      I’m curious to hear how you like it.

  2. February 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Sounds excellent! I will be on the lookout for this one. I am a big fan of Victory’s beers & an even bigger fan of pale ales. In fact, if I was constricted to drinking/brewing only one type, it probably would be a pale ale. I just had the last bottle(in my fridge) of Yard’s Pale which I find to be a wonderfully clean and refreshing representation of the style. Can’t wait to compare the Headwaters.

    • February 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      Headwaters is cool because it has an earthiness to it that other lower-ABV pale ales lack. It’s complex and rewarding for a non-imperial beer.

      Another one of my faves is Troegs Pale Ale, but that’s a sweet treat compared to Headwaters. Both are very good but very different.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Victory Headwaters Pale Ale « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog | Beer For Beer Drinkers - February 14, 2011

    […] reading here: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog Related Posts:Seen Through a Glass: Victory Headwaters Pale Ale thanks to a shorter drive home (I […]

  2. Victory Headwaters Pale Ale Released Today – Web Round-Up | In Search of Beer - February 15, 2011

    […] Jim Galligan, Beer and Whiskey Bros. “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.” Victory Headwaters Pale Ale […]

  3. Review: Victory Brewing Company’s Headwaters’ Pale Ale | Downingtown Dish - February 15, 2011

    […] Jim Galligan of Beer and Whiskey Bros. posted that “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.” Read more here. […]

  4. Beer Review – Victory Headwaters Pale Ale « It's just the booze dancing… - February 23, 2011

    […] Sunday February 13th, Victory Brewing Company invited several beer bloggers from the PA/NJ area (I can only assume that our invitation got lost in the mail) to their […]

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