Back again with another week of Raycommendations! A personally eventful week saw me receive the grand news that I passed my Certified Cicerone exam, which I’d been studying for for nearly 2 years. In layman’s terms, I am now an accredited beer nerd.
Seeking celebratory beers lined up perfectly with a massive week of incoming beauties from across the UK and the United States, a dangerous coincidence for my bank account, but an individual achievement worth toasting with big beers.
This week’s standouts just so happen to all be ultra-extravagant and mega-indulgent flavour-wise, with silly tasting notes of mango sticky rice, jelly beans, and marzipan all accounted for. To both my fellow sweet toothed drinkers and fans of ridiculous, whimsical beers, you are going to love this…
FINBACK – FAT MANGO
Before visiting any beer spot or festival, my geeky anticipation takes over in the form of a shameless UnTappd scroll on the day to see what is pouring, informing what I’m most looking forward to drinking. I did exactly that whilst in line for Track and Finback’s collaborative festival late last month, and Finback’s mango and coconut sticky rice milkshake IPA ‘Fat Mango’ was the first beer on the list. A must-have. Apparently I wasn’t the only one buzzing to get my hands on this, because, to my dismay, I was told the keg had kicked during the morning session, leaving me bang out of luck. You can imagine my sheer incandescence when it arrived to 👻🐳 last week! I wasted no time at all in getting a can cracked open. A literal mango bomb, full of nectar-esque sweetness, and a delightfully velvety, creamy body from the addition of lactose. Coconut sticky rice adds a pleasant layer of candied complexity, making this a milkshake I’ll keep reaching for and recommending until it’s gone.
YONDER – FREAK SHAKE
Further Cicerone celebrations came in the form of a spontaneous day trip to Leicester to visit with my sour beer-loving best friend. It was derby day for our shared favourite football club, an excuse any fan will take to get in on the beers early. This cherry, vanilla, butterscotch, and jelly bean imperial milkshake sour was comfortably our beer of the day, especially considering we had Carlings in hand about 10 minutes prior to cracking into this [I’m pretty sure this is a breach of your employment contract Ray. Ed]. Yonder are absolute wizards, for somehow getting all of the promised flavours to not only be noticeable, but work together. A smooth, rich body laid foundation for intense sour cherry tartness and assertive butterscotch sweetness to bombard the palate. Our glasses were instantly passed around to everyone in the house, to share a giggle over this utterly bonkers brew. A liquid dessert worth sharing.
NEON RAPTOR – CRIMES AGAINST BREWING
Despite not being a coffee drinker, there was something incredibly tantalising about this coffee, caramel, and almond double pastry stout from Nottingham’s Neon Raptor. I’m not a big fan of coffee in general, let alone in beer, but was inexplicably drawn to this for reasons I am still unsure of. Regardless, my temptations were rationalised when I realised just how tasty this is. Aromas of freshly roasted coffee jump out of the glass, and are present on the palate, but they’re balanced so elegantly with a huge hit of amaretto/marzipan and caramel sweetness. Amaretto is my outright favourite liqueur, so seeing the almonds play such a prominent role is personally satisfying. If this truly is a crime against brewing, then lock me up!