Belhaven

BELHAVEN

“While 1719 may be the earliest documented evidence of the Belhaven Brewery, there may well have been beer production on the site pre-16th century as the wells and certain cellar vaults are known to date from around the time of the Reformation. Monks (noted for brewing skills) settled in the area from the 12th century. Luckily they had access to both fine water and top quality local barley.

www.belhaven.co.uk

Year-Round/Seasonals:

BLACK: 84 Points

Highly Quaffable

Highly Quaffable

This Stout is available year-round in 440 ml. Nitrogen cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Belhaven Black Scottish Stout really is something completely different. Bursting with roast coffee and chocolate flavours, this is a truly genuine and premium pint. Brewed using pure Scottish water and a unique blend of Scottish triple malts sourced from the finest locally grown barley.”

My Description: This beer is a good choice for slamming back a few and the nitrogen ball in the can really brings out the head. It is large, beige colored, and that lasts forever leaving behind a bountiful amount of lacing that sticks to the glass. The aroma is pleasant and rather mild with notes of roasted malts and a touch of cocoa. This ale is medium/full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors are nicely balanced, not too sweet or bitter, but very basic and faint. There are notes of roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee but they are not pronounced. The silky smooth texture and low ABV make this beer an easy drinking pub stout.  It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with fried fish, grilled steak, or your favorite burger.

ABV: 4.2%  Color: Black/Deep Mahogany  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

SCOTTISH ALE: 81 Points

Could be better

Could be better

This Scottish Style Ale is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Malty and hoppy, we at Belhaven love the classic Scottish Ale and we’ve been brewing it longer than any of the other beers we produce. Delivering a sweet, smooth and creamy finish, Scottish Ale has a stunning ruby colour in the glass. Magic.”

My Description: My initial reaction is that this ale could be so much more if it just didn’t taste old. The hops felt rather stale and harsh, plus the carbonation hid some of the tasty malty notes. Could it be the bottle? Perhaps, but I did purchase from a reputable retailer, drank by the “best by” date, and it went straight into my refrigerator when I brought it home. It is what it is. It begins with a decent, light beige colored head that fades quickly and leaves behind hardly any lacing. The aroma is the best part of this beer, here the hops actually smell nice and fresh which is the exact opposite of what they taste like.  There are also notes of butterscotch, malt, and light fruits; the aroma is pleasant and inviting. This ale is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. There are flavor notes of toasted malt, earthy/herbal hops, butterscotch, some fruit notes and a slightly bitter finish. All this sounds delicious but the lack of freshness holds this beer back. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck with raspberry sauce, grilled lamb, or beef stew.

ABV: 5.2%  Color: Amber  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3/10

SCOTTISH STOUT: 92 Points

Nice Job Scotland

Nice Job Scotland

This Stout is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This deluxe stout is brewed for a full roasted chocolate flavour with a hop character that complements a blend of triple malts. Drink, savour and enjoy.”

My Description: This stout surprised me; upon first glance it seems that this is going to be your average English stout that wouldn’t be memorable because the head is pretty weak and the aroma is basic but when I started drinking this beer I feel in love. It begins with a good sized, tan colored head that fades to a thin film quick leaving behind very little lacing. The aroma is on the sweeter side with notes of caramel and chocolate but not much else. Scottish Stout is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is where this ale really shines. Deliciously balanced and slightly complex, this beer boasts notes of cocoa powder, toffee, some smoke, and a hint of raisins. A mild roasted note is apparent throughout and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with lingering espresso notes. Even though this beer has a 7% alcohol content, this beer drinks more like a chugger than a sipper. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with dry rubbed ribs, smoked sausage, or dark chocolate.

ABV: 7%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 3/10

TWISTED THISTLE IPA: 83 Points

The double hop twist

The double hop twist

This IPA is available year-round in the U.S. in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A stunning India Pale Ale (IPA), don’t think that Belhaven’s Twisted Thistle has anything jaggy, spikey, prickly or otherwise pain-inflicting in its nature. Quite the opposite. Your taste buds will tingle with pleasure after a sip or two of this golden nectar. A real treat from our master brewers in Dunbar.”

My Description: Beefed up a tad bit for the U.S. market (The European version has a lower alcohol content), this ale is a good choice for an everyday IPA that is refreshing and not overly bitter. It begins with a decent, white colored head that fades rather quickly and it leaves behind hardly any lacing. The aroma is interesting as there is more sweetness than I had expected in an IPA, there are also notes of grassy hops and light fruit. This beer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is not elaborate but kept simple. There are notes of earthy hops and a touch of grapefruit from the Cascade hops but this beer is not hop forward. In fact, there is a good amount of sweetness in this beer bringing good balance. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and leaves a lingering oxidized hop flavor that tastes like old hops. The hints of light fruit and malt bring character to the beer but not enough to make this my go-to choice. This is a good IPA if high amounts of hops are not your thing. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Thai noodles, mushroom burgers, or a fried chicken salad.

ABV: 6.1%  Color: Honey  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

WEE HEAVY: 95 Points

Heavy in body and flavor

Beautiful Scottish Ale

This Scottish Wee Heavy is available year-round in 500 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “It may have come from a right old recipe but Wee Heavy fits the bill today as much as it ever has. It is a classic Scottish heavy but has a lightness of flavour and a great reddish colour in the glass. Cracking stuff if we do say so ourselves.”

My Description: This beer should be sipped to really appreciate all the flavors and quality that Belhaven provides. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with a decent retention level and it leaves behind an average amount of lacing for this style. The aroma is slightly complex and rich with deep malt notes accompanied by hints of toasted bread, raisins, and other dark fruits. This ale is full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is also complex with notes of malt and caramel along with dark fruit notes such as raisins and plums. There is also a hint of burnt sugar and no sign of alcohol. What makes this particular Wee Heavy so great is that not only are the flavors rich and smooth, but the overall sweetness is slightly countered by a lingering bitterness that creeps in slowly. This beer is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck or grilled lamb chops.

ABV: 6.5%  Color: Garnet/Mahogany  Sweetness: 4/10  Bitterness: 2/10