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Bitter and twisted

I first heard of Belhaven beers about 30 years ago – this was in the days when you didn’t see beer very far away from where it was brewed – not decent beer anyway.  I was working with a bloke who hailed from St. Andrews in Scotland, and he sang the praises of his local brew – particularly the “heavy” and 80 Shilling.  To be honest, I’ve not visited Scotland that many times, and never drunk Belhaven on “home soil”, so can’t really vouch for the cask versions, but have drunk the 80 Shilling out of bottles several times – in fact now I think of it I’ve got an 80/- pint glass somewhere – must have responded to an offer at some point.  Our local has Belhaven Best on draught, but because they always have at least a couple of decent cask ales as well, I’ve never got round to sampling it.

Anyway, to get to the point, I sampled a bottle of Belhaven Twisted Thistle a few days ago.  This is a 5.3% IPA – and very drinkable for it’s strength – I tend to prefer the less strong beers (but I’ll try anything once).  It smells very hoppy, and has a dry bitter taste and a lasting bitter finish.  Well worth trying.

The reason that Belhaven Best is on at our local is that it is a Greene King pub, and Belhaven appears to be part of their “portfolio” now – along with Ruddles, which is also on draught at the local.  I couldn’t find any mention of that on the Belhaven web site, but there is a link in the opposite direction from the Greene King web site.  But, as I’ve said in previous posts, just because breweries get absorbed into a larger group it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad thing.  At least Belhaven still brew their beer in Dunbar (unlike the Morlands Original which is now brewed at the Greene King brewery in Bury St. Edmunds – see my post What’s original about it?)

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