Lurking in the Bermuda Triangle of Hops
A Review of Headwaters Pale Ale by Victory Brewing Co.
Posted on 4/12/2011 by Chops
                   
Great
Pale ales can be tricky to review because even the best versions can taste starkly different from one another. Pinnacles like Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues can really throw you for a loop when trying to compare tastes. Clean, crisp, bitter, smooth, harsh, hoppy, sweet, are all valid terms when describing the vast array of pale ales out there. Opinions can get a little, well... skewed. So I urge caution when comparing pales because while you may like a particular style or taste, don't automatically dismiss another.

Case in point, the Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. To my palate, this is a very nice pale ale. I enjoyed it because it amplifies the typical pale ale hop profile. Basically if you strip away the hop sting from an average IPA, you get a pale ale, i.e. good flavor with a manageable bite. For anyone who drinks mostly sub-par beer, pale ales are generally great stepping stones to better beer. However, Headwaters Pale Ale is heavier and more aggressive than you average pale ale. It actually comes across as an IPA light (if there is such a thing). It's got a nice hopped-forward profile without being overpowering. But, that makes it somewhat aggressive for novices as it resides in that odd middle ground between stronger pales and weaker IPAs. I like to call it the Bermuda Triangle of hops.

Overall, Victory's Headwaters Pale Ale is a very tasty pale ale. But, I'm not exactly sure which beer fans to recommend it to. Hop heads may or may not like it. Novices may or may not like it. It looks and feels like a pale with that warm golden color and tingly mouthfeel. On the other hand, it smells and tastes like a weaker IPA. None of this is good or bad mind you, just musing on my own observations. I really enjoyed the Headwaters Pale Ale and I suspect many beer fans also do. And besides, we're talking about Victory here. Worst case scenario, you have a high quality brew that you may or may not like. Just dive right in and enjoy the experience.

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Headwaters Pale Ale by Victory Brewing Co.
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