A Trip to Victory Brewing: Ranch S IPA, Summa Ale, Headwaters Pale Ale

Posted on 02. Feb, 2012 by in Beer Reviews

This past Christmas the fiance and I went up to the Philly area to visit her family.  Of course on the way I made it a point to fit in some kind of beer.  Victory was sorta on the way (OK not really) so we stopped by early afternoon for some beers and some of their food which is always pretty darn good.

As always I try to try some of their brewpub exclusive beers or their one offs.  They had a few on tap.  The first one was called Ranch S IPA.  From what I remember Ranch S is named after the Ranch the hops were picked from.  I could be wrong but I think I’m right.  I also believe this is the first beer in the a line of beers that will carry the Ranch S name.

The bottom line is, this was a really good Double IPA.  I wouldn’t mind seeing this somewhere down the line make it into bottles.  I know I would buy a few.  It was so good I picked up a growler of it to go.

Ranch S poured a clear orange color.  A nice two finger white fluffy head is poured with great retention and lacing.  Just a really nice looking brew.

The aroma is inviting.  Full of citrus, grapefruit, and spicy hops.  It’s hoppy but still balanced thanks to the biscuit malt that’s picked up.

For an DIPA ringing in at 9%, this is a easy drinker.  Alcohol is pretty much non existent.  Instead it’s bursting with flavor.  Nice and fruity mixed in with some floral and spice notes.  Good stuff.  Almost like a mixture between an East and West Coast IPA.

Mouthfeel is great on this beer.  Bordering on heavy.  Slick and oily.  Goes down great.

Like I said, this stuff will hopefully be bottled one day.  Rating: A-

Next up is a Hefeweizen.  Decided to go with something a little bit lighter this time around.  Its called Summa Ale and rings in at 5.90%.  At first I didn’t think to much of this beer.  But as I drank it overtime I started to enjoy it more and more.

Pours a hazy golden straw color.  Nice fluffy white head.  Looks like you could sleep on it.  Great retention.

The aroma is straight up Hefe, nothing more, nothing less.  Still it’s nice.  Slight citrus, spices, of course the number one thing doing it’s thing, the yeast.   Brings up some nice banana and lemon.  There’s a slight bready malt flavor that sticks around.

With the taste at first you’ll get the breadiness hitting the palette followed by the lemon and banana.  The end hits you with some zesty spiciness.  Not a overwhelming brew. Just totally drinkable and enjoyable.  Something I would of had another of.

Mouthfeel is bordering on light but still somehow remains creamy.

Rating: B

Last but not least is a beer I could easily get around here but have never tried.  Headwaters Pale Ale.  I picked up a growler of it to take back to my fiances parents house in hopes they would want to drink some.  In the end, they didn’t like it.  But it’s OK.  They tried at least.

This pale ale pours a clear dark copper color.  Huge white fluffy head.  Lacing everywhere.  As soon as I put this up to my nose I was impressed.  This is one hopped up pale ale!  Full of floral and piney hops with some citrus lingering.  Nice presence of caramel malt.

The taste doesn’t quite match the amount of hops that the smell has but it’s still very hoppy for just a regular pale ale.  Some IPAs would be jealous.  The citrus comes in more here with the piney hops following.  The beer finishes with a nice toastiness.  Kind of like a biscuit.

Mouthfeel is a little bit on the light side, almost watery but it all fits together nicely and I don’t mind this kind of mouthfeel for a 5.10% beer.  Goes down just really nice.  Rating: B+

One Response to “A Trip to Victory Brewing: Ranch S IPA, Summa Ale, Headwaters Pale Ale”

  1. Mark 2 February 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    That Ranch S IPA was pretty impressive and a welcome surprise from Victory. It just sorta showed up without any fanfare, and it’s pretty damn great. It’s a single hopped beer with Cascade hops, and it gave me a whole new perspective on that hop.

    And Headwaters grew on me. I think you’re right to call out the almost-watery aspect, but that somehow works with this beer. It’s a subtle beer. I liked it a lot when I first tried it, but my appreciation grows with each taste…

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