Thursday, December 8, 2011

498. Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

Let’s start with the obvious. Headwaters drops science like Sean Morgan talks game. Or drinks beer. Or flim-flams. You get the picture. That’s right, I’m bagging on ol’ Mercury. Because today, he officially got older. And if you don’t get the reference, you can check with this guy. Anywho, Victory is back. Not like they went anywhere. Our other encounters with Victory include Yakima Twilight (since renamed Yakima Glory), Saison du Buff, the collabo with Stone and Dogfish Head, plus Prima Pils, Baltic Thunder, HopDevil, and WildDevil.

Headwaters pours a light, clear copper; it has only a slight haze, and a thin but consistent white head with profuse small bubbles rising through the beer—which is just another way of saying that Headwaters is pretty. The hop aroma in the nose is delightful—citrus—including lemon zest, orange and grapefruit—coupled with spicy resin and a dank mustiness. At the same time, however, it is bright and floral, followed by a touch of biscuit malt. Flavors start dry and lightly spicy; the biscuit malt flavor comes out in the middle, along with the resin and a slight hint of evergreen that follows through into the finish. The bright bitterness builds gently across the profile, contributing to the dry, biscuit-like, almost cracker-y finish. Bright, crisp, dry, and bitter, yet carrying plenty of subtlety—this beer is top-notch. I’d drink Headwaters all the time if I could actually find it on a regular basis; my best bet is to follow the example of my current mild experimentation, and get busy crafting myself a light, easy-drinking APA that goes down like this luscious liquid gold. Not that I’ll be topping Headwaters anytime soon. But I can certainly give it the ol’ college try, can’t I?

From the bottle: “Malted barley, hops, and yeast are the building blocks of beer. But none of these elements would exist with water, the essence of life. The waters that feed our brewery begin just over a dozen miles away, making for spectacularly pure and vital water for brewing. Having worked with watershed 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. Cheers!”

ABV: 5.1%
Malts: imported German 2-row
Hops: “whole flower American”—what the hell does that mean? My call is Citra
First release: Feb. 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sean! Get that drink on, my man!


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