No More Heroes III: Beavertown 8 Ball Rye IPA

I don’t usually pay much attention to the A-boards that sit on pavements outside pubs. Those that ceaselessly try to out pun each other with increasingly inane ‘banter’. Recently though, one managed to catch my attention – it simply said ‘GAMMA RAY BACK IN STOCK.’

I thought this was quite remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, that this quite ordinary pub was stocking what I believe to be one of the best beers being brewed in the country right now. It makes sense but it was surprising considering a few months ago they assumed that Doom Bar was haute couture. Secondly, because it demonstrated in real terms just how much craft beer is permeating into the mainstream, and that’s a wonderful thing.

I love Beavertown, I love how they’ve grown and adapted and evolved but I don’t want them to become known for one or two beers. There is so much more to these hard working, North London stalwarts that just glorious Gamma Ray.

Take 8 Ball, for example, their rye IPA. This beer is one of Beavertown founder Logan Plant’s original homebrew recipes. It oozes with chewy, caramel malts, snaps with bitter, pine resin and grapefruit hop nuances and bites with a snap of white pepper as it begs you to take another sip. This may sound like a great deal but in actual fact these wonderful flavours bind to form one cohesive whole.

The fact that Gamma Ray and, to a lesser extent, Neck Oil, steals all of 8 Ball's limelight is criminal. It might not have the in-your-face hop punch of its more popular cousin but it’s a wonderful beer all the same and its name deserves to be scrawled on pub A-boards as much as any other beer might.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis.