Beavertown are a quirky brewery from London whose beers, artwork, and website are a lot of fun with their colourful mix of futuristic science fiction style designs and lots of skulls. I like skulls, and I like science fiction, yea I'm a geek. Beavertown are about to hit their first decade of brewing and it's fair to say it's been a pretty successful 10 years for them. Gamma Ray has been available for about 8 years now, so it's very much a Beavertown flagship brew and I'm looking forward to trying it. As much as I like old school breweries with their proper traditional looking beers it's nice to have something that stands out occasionally, and Beavertown beers certainly stand out.
Gamma Ray comes in a 330ml can depicting an alien invasion, floating skulls, and two spacemen getting shot in the head, presumably by gamma rays which reveals their skulls. It's all a bit like when Scorpion rips off his own face to provide a finishing move in Mortal Kombat. I expect some younger readers may have literally no idea what I'm on about at this point. Anyway lets just say that the can is a lot of colourful fun with plenty going on. The beer pours a cloudy orange with a fairly thin white as white can be head. Really it just looks like most American Pale Ales so nothing spectacular here.
At 5.4% alcohol Gamma Ray is in the fun zone for beers where its not so strong it's going to cause your skull to burst through your face, but strong enough to make that same skull ache a bit in the morning if you have a few. On opening the can you'll be hit by citrus aromas, a surprisingly generous dollop of malts, and some lively hops. I would say the overriding smell is probably oranges, it's a strong smell, but not an overpowering one. Everything about this beer seems to indicate I'm going to be treated to a fairly standard fruity APA.
The taste is less spectacular than the smell, but then it had to be really to make it drinkable. All the aromas are in the taste though. Gamma Ray is lively, hoppy, and full of citrus fruits, predominantly orange but there's probably some grapefruit in there. It's reasonably well balanced and light, but I'd have probably liked a bit more malt. I'd say Gamma Ray is pretty easy to drink, but it's a very familiar standard taste for an APA, I guess when you look at the artwork and love put into the design of the can and their glasses you hope for something a bit more spectacular from the beers itself.
I've never hid that I'm not really an IPA/APA fan, but while I've been doing these reviews a few have surprised me and I'm certainly enjoying them more than I used to. Sadly Gamma Ray from Beavertown isn't one I'd go out my way to try again. If you like a hoppy, citrus APA you'll enjoy this beer, but for me other than the exceptional artwork it offers nothing out of the ordinary. I'm going to give Gamma Ray a distinctly average 5 out of 10. If it didn't look so good I might have even dropped it to a 4.