Beak, Left Handed Giant and Two Flints breweries.


The curtains have closed on March, a month made forever memorable by my sudden spur of adventurousness. Around my birthday in mid-February, I became restless by the thought that I hadn’t been making the most of my time off, which I corrected by intentionally filling my schedule for every weekend in March. Trips to Cologne, Bristol, Lewes, and Windsor were all planned with the local beer scene in mind, and the following brews are all Raycommended as a result of trying them straight from the source.


No trip to Bristol is complete without a visit to Left Handed Giant’s taproom. They are housed in a goliath, three-story warehouse space, right on the River Avon, that was absolutely jammed wall-to-wall with lively locals on the evening that I visited. We were unfortunately short on time when visiting, otherwise a ⅓ pour of all 18 taps would’ve done me just right. One of the standouts of my limited time there, though, was the ‘Twin Cities’ Gluten Free Pale Ale, that utilises two of my favourite hop strains: Citra & Galaxy. These hops are renowned for the fruitiness they impart, on show in abundance here. Citrus notes of orange and grapefruit dance alongside stone fruit character, all shining on a full, smooth body thanks to a large dose of oats in the malt bill. This becomes the first Gluten Free Raycommendation for good reason; they’ve done an excellent job of maintaining a wonderful fruity punch despite removing the gluten. Couldn’t Raycommend a visit to this space more. Incredible beers, vibrant atmosphere, river views, and good pizza… Genuinely, what more could one ask for?


Easter bank holiday weekend called for getting out of town, and a visit to my good friend Dillon, who works at the Two Flints taproom, presented itself as the perfect day trip. Seeing that the journey would only cost an astonishing £4 round trip was all the added push I needed. They are situated in an unassuming archway underneath Windsor Station, with two stories, the second of which overlooks the brewhouse in one direction, and an outdoor seating area in the other. Known for their hoppy brews, Dillon served me up one Pale/IPA after another, all of which were absolutely delightful. Their freshest double-dry-hopped Pale Ale focuses on the tropical, juicy flavour profile of the Kiwi strain Motueka. It is remarkably soft and smooth, thanks to a fluffy body, which allows the Motueka to shine in all of its mango and peach-y glory. A touch of pine needle bitterness made this deliciously drinkable, resulting in it being the only beer of the day I ordered multiple pours of. Certainly worth mentioning that their taproom boasted the best tunes I’ve heard in a beer-y space yet. The best of the Indie / Alternative Rock scene rang out for the duration of my visit, making me feel like I was in the comfort of my own living room. If you find yourself in this area, seek out Two Flints for some of the best hoppy Ales this country has to offer. 


On the topic of world class hop-forward beers, Beak has been one of my favourite breweries in the country since I began working for Ghost Whale a year and a half ago. Considering it only takes about an hour to get to their taproom from London, I began to grow frustrated with myself that I hadn’t arranged a trip south to Lewes to check out their space. Having one of my best friends from my Br*wDog employment days move to the neighbouring town of Eastbourne proved to be the inspiration I needed to finally kill two birds with one stone, visiting both him and Beak in one fair swoop. We were camped out in their humble, cliffside outfit for multiple hours, in hopes that their brand new honey-infused Double IPA would go on draft, and, lucky for us, we were patient enough to see it go live. Hopped with Mosaic, Loral, and Sabro, it genuinely feels as though this recipe was written with me in mind. The honey surprisingly isn’t as noticeable as I expected, but adds some body and residual marmalade-y sweetness. Floral and tropical notes are contributed by the hops, adding an incredibly rounded depth of flavour.  We all know these guys make magnificent beers, but, as for the space, the indoor/outdoor setup is wonderful, the view of the cliff is simply stunning, and it really is an all-around top tier destination of the UK craft beer scene.