Ray's raycommendations 2nd May


Ray's raycommendations 2nd May

Hey-ho! Raycommendations return after a week off, in typical silly fashion. From bottle shares to post-football-match celebratory sippers, mid-shift sessions to taproom visits across the city, it’s been a very beer-y couple of weeks since the last segment, so the following selections weren’t easy to finalise, but were the standouts amongst high competition. A milkshake Double IPA from *probably* my favourite UK brewery, a gem of a new meadery, and a surprise inclusion are showcased.


In preparation for a visit to my sister’s university town of Washington DC, I reached out to a fantastic, local craft beer bar, and planned an intercontinental beer exchange, in the form of two guided tastings. I’ll be bringing beautiful British beer overseas with me, in mass, to showcase some of the UK’s finest breweries, and will reciprocate when I return to London with the bar’s favourite American producers. When pondering what should be in my suitcase with me, a Track Gold Top was near top priority. Lucky for me, and for the ticketed DC-based attendees, ‘Reality’ was released the day I submitted the bottle and can list. For research purposes, I tucked into one of these tins, and, as per usual with this series, was completely floored. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying one of Track’s Gold Tops, it is an aggressively hopped, lactose-infused Double IPA. The lactose addition adds a pillowy, creamy body and delightful sweetness that complements the tropical, stone fruity hops perfectly. I have a sneaky feeling this will be a fan favourite stateside. Top, top stuff.


While on a weekender in Manchester a couple weeks back, I went out of the way to Salford, to a cracking little bottle shop that my nerdy UnTappd research made out to be a must-visit. They had the regular slew of meaderies that we get in at Ghost Whale, plus a name new to me: Lost Verses. I inquired about them to the barman, who said they produce world class Meads, just five minutes from where we were standing. I opted for this strawberry, cherry, and marshmallow option, and was immediately blown away, before even sipping, mind you, by how masterfully they accomplished the marshmallow flavouring. Questions need to be asked about their production methods, as I haven’t come across something so efficiently marshmallowy. It is in-your-face, red fruit fluff. Velvety body lays foundation for intense berry character to dance alongside sweet vanilla and mallow. When arriving back to work the following Monday, I ran this name up the ladder and made it priority A to get these guys in the shop. They’ve unanimously impressed my coworkers, friends, and regulars alike, so act fast, they won’t be here long! Pouring now in both shops. 


The above two tipples were absolute shoe-ins for this week’s list of Raycommendations, but, due to a high amount of brilliant beer consumed since the last instalment, I became torn over what third option to pursue. Amidst my overthinking, Daniel popped down a third-of-the-way-full glass of a Põhjala Witbier, that I had just unboxed a couple of hours prior. Admittedly, I almost certainly wouldn’t have reached for this without his intervention, but, being that it’s listed here, I’m sure you can guess my thoughts on it. It’s absolutely lush. Brewed traditionally within the style’s guidelines, they’ve used orange zest and coriander seeds, but have given it a modern twist by adding elderflower. This proved a wonderfully clever spin. Lemon and orange citrus notes meet sweet, floral elderflower and a delicate, light spice. Wheat has a higher protein level than barley malt, which correlates into a fluffy, full consistency. If Spring ever decides to present itself to us, this is going to be an absolute smash hit to sip in the sun. A pleasant surprise.