Basqueland, Cream of Galaxy

Cream of Galaxy is a showcase for the Galaxy hop, brewed by Basqueland. Once you get past the Campbell’s soup-style can, you’ll find a sticky, sweet pale ale with tonnes of tropical fruit and peach flavour. Cream of Galaxy contains gluten and lactose.

Balancing hops is a delicate art. Making the best beers in the world takes a thorough understanding of different hops’ characteristics and weaving them together to create a coherent, delicious blend.

How do brewers get that thorough understanding in the first place? They might brew a hop tea, focusing entirely on that one hop’s aroma. But a far tastier option is to brew a single hop showcase, a beer with just one hop highlighting all the features of that particular variety.

That’s what Basqueland has done here. Cream of Galaxy is the latest in a series of single hop showcases, this time showing off what the Galaxy hop can do.

Let’s start with the most obvious thing first: this looks like a can of soup.

It’s not indistinguishable. There are enough differences that Basqueland doesn’t need to worry about copyright claims from either Campbells or the estate of Andy Warhol. But there’s no mistaking what brand they’re apeing. It’s a bit of playful fun, which just makes me more intrigued about what’s beneath the label.

The beer itself is a deep, fairly dark orange with a pillowy white head. It’s cloudy, almost completely opaque, no doubt due to all the wheat and oat additions.

Now, given the only hop in this beer is Galaxy, we have some idea of what to expect: peach, passion fruit, and orange. Reassuringly, this is exactly what we find when giving it a good sniff.

That’s not all, however. Looking at the label, you’ll note CO2 is listed as an ingredient. Artificial carbonation is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But you do need to account for the impact it will have on a beer’s aroma. In this case, we’re left with a metallic, slightly sour, gassy note from that additional gas.

You’d think, having been carbonated, this beer would be very fizzy. In fact, when I sip this I worry that it’s gone flat. It’s creamy and smooth, but there’s very little carbonation here to balance the tsunami of sweetness in this beer. There’s a rush of saccharine, juicy flavours: peaches in syrup, orange juice, mango, but no bitterness or any other kind of flavour to balance that sweetness out.

This would be a great beer for someone who wanted to graduate from chugging on Tropicana. For just about anyone else, whether you favour a traditional ale or a hoppy IPA, this beer is likely to leave you wanting more.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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