Ray's raycommendations include Chad Beer, Two Flints and Arpus


Celebrating my 25th lap around the sun meant this past week has been chock-full of drinking sessions. Thursday post-shift drinks with coworkers, Friday pre-night out beers with pals, Saturday football-viewing brews at home, and a massive birthday bottle share with regular customers on Sunday has made this one hell of a week for both my liver and my Raycommendation selection. With so much competition, determining my top 3 this week was no easy task, which serves as a testament to how special these beers are!

Chad Beer - The One With All The Turtles


At long last, my first time sipping a Chad brew! Chad is the hop-forward wing of a three-pronged Swedish brewing collective, accompanied by Sour-centric Elm Eleven and dark beer wizards Nerd Brewing. Elm Eleven and Nerd are Ghost Whale favourites, and have both featured in previous editions of Raycommendations, so testing their hoppy branch Chad has been on my to-do list for quite some time now. Low and behold, the trio are special across the board. ‘The One With All the Turtles’ is a Hazy boi saturated with Citra, Nelson Sauvin, and Galaxy hops, which all bring fruitiness to the table and give this a delightful juiciness. The use of wheat and oats in the malt bill really fluff up the body of this pillowy brew, providing a full and creamy mouthfeel. All around excellence out of Malmö.

Arpus - Raspberry Blackberry Cherry Maple Smoothie Sour


I’ve been an outspoken admirer of Latvia’s Ārpus for quite some time now, and have claimed on multiple accounts that their Smoothie Sour series is some of the best modern Sours you’re likely to find in Europe. Simply put, I can’t get enough of these guys, and it’s baffling to me that this is the first Raycommendation feature of one of their Sours. Imagine drinking an Innocent smoothie, and having someone tell you there’s ~5% alcohol in it. Not so innocent anymore, eh? That’s exactly what Ārpus have managed to create, and I’m yet to have a Sour from them that hasn’t blown me away. We have three in our fridges right now, and any of them could have featured here (as, of course, I’ve tucked into the lot of them), but the maple addition here took this brew to new heights for me. I first came to the understanding that maple and berries work incredibly well together in beer with Omnipollo’s ‘Bianca Brunch Bomb’, one of my favourite beers of 2022, and this is quite literally that, in smoothie form. Thick as any beer you’re likely to find, and crammed with an array of tart berries, which shine along sweet maple syrup notes. Indulgent, but all that fruit has to make this slightly healthy, right?

Two Flints - Big Dave


Now onto the latest hoppy delight from Windsor’s finest, Two Flints. After sampling this on two separate occasions now, I’m happy to say this is, comfortably, my beer of the year so far. Big words, I know. I first enjoyed this with friends from the comfort of my flat, as a celebratory tipple after Arsenal’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley at the weekend. Good company, incredible performance from my football club, and an absolutely stunning brew made it a Saturday to remember. This was the final of many day-time beers, so I did begin to wonder if the scoreline, numerous previous drinks, and overall atmosphere altered my opinion of it. 

Luckily enough, a buddy who just so happens to works for Two Flints gifted me a 6-pack of recent releases for my birthday, so, for research’s sake, I cracked into another can the following day with some pals, and was equally blown away. Deliciously fresh Nectaron, Riwaka, and Citra hops contributed their tropical goodness, and made this a hoppy mango and peach smoothie. An incredible amount of body was achieved, while remaining soft and approachable. Slight dank bitterness kept this in balance, and kept me reaching for more and more. Hats off to all involved, this is genuinely stunning. 

Special thanks to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me or sent well wishes. I am so lucky to be a part of the Ghost Whale community, and felt so much love over the past week. Cheers to another year of sharing great beer together! ❤️