It's been too long that I have had this in storage and my last review reminded me that I really needed to get on and have this. An American Pale Ale, a tag I ought to use more often, from the all-conquering Beavertown Brewery by the name of Gamma Ray. Alas, I was much too slow to get my hands on a can of the Tropigamma and I suspect that I have rather missed out there. Still, as for the New Year resolution to have more quality ales following that awesome 12 day stretch of Christmas ales, it looks I remain mostly on track some four months in. Good.
This is not a trip for the faint-hearted, would you like to know more?
This was a natural successor to the power of the Lupuloid (click here) and it opened with much the same effect. Quiet at first but then a bit of activity and on the pour it caused something of a mountainous head with a bit of an ice-cream effect. I blame the fact that I have had this is storage for so long. It's got plenty of fruit on the nose though, a little more tart and spicy than the previous one from Beavertown and lacking that same explosive quality. I like it, but there is a hint of something a little more dangerous here, like the fruit has been left out in the sun too long I guess. Bit more coppery and there's a definite orange tinge to this. It reminds me in hue of the Boris Citrov (click here) and it is a little in that vein regarding the aroma too. That's not a bad thing but it's not what I expected. Equally, I can sort of smell the 5.4% ABV of this one on the nose in a way that the 7% ABV of Lupuloid was not as much in evidence, with the effect that this feels like a stronger ale.
Walking into the orange grove there is the immediate scent of the oranges, along with the other citrus smells from the leaves and the nearby lime plantation, a hot sun beats down above the conservatory windows, stifling heat and plenty of humidity. Sweat drops down your brow, gathers in the eyebrows and this just oozes a dry heat beneath the nose. Into the middle of the taste and the full force of the desert heat arrives, allowing the bubbles to do their work apparently unaffected by the fact that this is an ale and there is some of the yeast just about tasted behind the powerful hops through the stinging of the bubbles like gnats or midges flying around at the back of the small orchard under cover. Drying and warm as it slips to the back of the throat, leaving behind the distinct impression that there's something out beyond the glass, maybe a summer's day or a chance to rest awhile in front of a sparkling lake amid the tinkling sound of children's laughter.
The head calms, the brew settles, there is a different feeling to it now. Full but thin, not at all like the velvet of the stouts in the depths of winter, a storm blowing in from the continent full of sand and high winds but warm air and some fat droplets of rain blasted by the airflow almost at a forty-five degree angle. Somewhere, off in the distance, a thunderstorm rages and the rumble of that bass fills the mouth and runs down the gunnels shaking loose the cobwebs from a long and dark period. It is the sun rising again for the full effect of the summer, a feeling that the fruit will succeed and take over from the cool darkness of the heavier brews - though this isn't exactly a light sessionable ale either! It's fizzy as well, not throughout the mouthful but enough to fox me into thinking that it could be, and it ends with a nice and dry sensation that brings to mind the parched grass beyond that orchard into which you walk at the start of this brew.
In this terrain it is better to travel light and allow the fruits of the trees and the mushrooms of the dark places beneath the larger canopy to sustain you on your travels. Undergrowth constantly provides the raw materials required for camp and so there is no need to stockpile or take anything with you from each rest spot. No campfire is needed except to roast the lemons to try and keep the biting insects at bay. A settled seat beneath the open stars as the blue fades away and surrenders the sky to the show of comets and wheeling points of light to watch without covering before sleep. Take a few cans of this though, maybe in a bag that is set up to keep them cool, and you will be well served.