Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

June 25, 2012

I am genuinely surprised that I have not already reviewed Victory’s Headwaters Pale Ale, as it has become something of a ‘go to’ beer for me over the past year or so. It is not a groundbreaker in any way. It does not push the limits of what can be defined as beer.┬áIt does not redefine the pale ale genre. It does not make me see visions of comely wenches lounging languidly as I drink and guffaw in my Falstaffian glory, and yes, there are some beers that do that. Frankly, it is not even my favorite pale ale, as the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is still my number one pale ale.

It may not be any of those things, but it is still a damn fine beer. The hops are assertive without being overpowering, and there is some malty sweetness on the back end to make this a nicely balanced beer. It is dry, crisp and refreshing, not heavy at all, and at 5.1 % ABV is an excellent session beer. This is the type of beer I would give to a beer neophyte in order to introduce them to the world of good beer, and yet is good enough to give to beer snobs, as I did with GEB a few weeks ago. Yet another fine offering from Victory, 7.5/10.


Victory Summer Love Ale

May 6, 2012

Fireworks, thunderstorms, the legs on that girl who worked the register at Swensen’s, baseball on the radio, fireflies in a jar, Gator taking the mound, crappy jobs that I have come to love in my later years, the smell of freshly cut grass, early mornings in the caddy shack waiting for a loop, Doc taking the mound, perpetually skinned knees and elbows, taking the afternoon bus to NYC, seeing concerts on the Pier, falafels at Mamoud’s, root beer floats from the Magic Fountain, bumblebees, helmetless bike rides, the chirping cricket thermometer, pizza from the Magic Table, pick-up baseball games at Stagg Field, skateboarding down Gavin Road, Grunning’s, getting lost in Turtle Back Rock, honeysuckles in bloom, ice cold beer.

There are not many things I’d change about the summers of my youth, but I would replace the Olympia (or whatever swill I was drinking back then) with a beer as good as Victory’s Summer Love Ale. I am not normally a fan of German style beers, but this is exceptional. It pours crystal clear, with a tangy, slightly bitter aroma. It has a mild floral hops flavor, just enough to give it some bite, but subtle enough to not be overpowering. It is crisp, refreshing, with just a touch of lemon zest in there and at only 5.2% ABV, you can have a few to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. I hope this is available all summer, as I’d like to drink it in the dog days of August, 7/10. Maybe this will be my beer when Darvish takes the mound. I doubt he will have a debut season like Doc had, but stranger things have happened. Now if I can just find some decent pizza in Texas.


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