It’s Borderlands 3 review day, and I’m sure you’re all dying too find out if Gearbox’s latest is also their greatest. While some of our US-based games press colleagues have been able to drink from the fountain of Borderlands 3’s looter-shooter goodness, those outside the US haven’t. We’ve had to make do with consuming something entirely different over the weekend while waiting for today’s review embargo to lift. Something that the UK gets and the US doesn’t: Borderlands beer.
Bandit Brew is a collaboration between 2K Games and London-based brewery Beavertown. You’ll know them for spotting Nick Dwyer’s grungy, skull-filled illustrations on supermarket shelves, not to mention their bizarre yet evocative names like Gamma Ray, Neck Oil and Lupaloid. Bandit Brew sticks with that distinctive look, just with a Borderlands Bandit on the front.
This is a ‘Light IPA’ with an ABV of just 2.8%, putting it firmly the bottom rung of Beavertown’s regular output in terms of alcohol content. As someone that’s partial to an IPA – mainly because it’s easy to walk up to a bar and say “do you have an IPA on tap?” and seem like you might have half a clue about what you’re going to get – and who will lean into the typically lighter style of session IPA with an ABV around 4-4.5%, it’s notably lighter.
It still lives up to its billing as having a fruitier citrus tone initially, with that familiar hoppy bite of an IPA that follows. It goes down easily and you still feel like you’re drinking a beer, but at the same time, as I get halfway through the can, it starts to feel like a diluted experience. Not watered down, just not as full-flavoured as the IPAs that I gravitate toward.
Just sticking within Beavertown’s beers, I’d definitely pick up Gamma Ray or Neck Oil over this, or other citrusy session IPAs like Easy Peeler or Tropicana – no, not the fruit juice, the beer from Tiny Rebel Club. Going from Bandit Brew to Fourpure’s Easy Peeler, and the difference in intensity of the flavours is huge.
But maybe, just maybe, that makes Bandit Brew perfect for a gaming session. Borderlands with its looter-shooter gaming loop, levelling and whittling away enemy health bars in co-op won’t necessarily tax your reflexes, but anyone who’s played video games while drinking alcohol will know that there’s a tipping point after which your gaming skills fall off a cliff for more competitive gaming. Bandit Brew, I feel, you can drink quite happily without feeling like you’re going to give up your mad FIFA skills or prevent you from pulling off clutch plays in Black Ops 4 Blackout.
Our thanks to 2K Games for sending us some Bandit Brew as part of a Borderlands 3 and beer themed package. Bandit Beer is going on sale with Beavertown stockists nationwide and in Loading gaming bars in London and Brighton from Friday 13th September.