Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. - Belhaven Scottish Ale

Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. - Belhaven Scottish Ale

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club International Beer Club

Country:

Scotland

Alcohol by Volume:

5.20%

Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. - Belhaven Scottish Ale

  • Alcohol by Volume: 5.20%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass
Similar to the situation described for “stout” having many substyles, “Scottish Ale” has various subcategories. Belhaven Scottish Ale is one of the benchmarks of the “80 Shilling” or “export” version. These subcategories were initially identified based on price (in shillings, represented as “/-“), which was directly correlated to gravity (% sugars) and percent alcohol. The shilling scale ran in increments of ten, starting at 60/- (light), followed by 70/- (heavy), and 80/- (export) and then from 90/- to 160/- for much heavier “Scotch Ales.” FYI: beers in the 60 to 80/- range are distinguished from “Scotch Ales” (90 to 160/- range) by the arcane term “Scottish Ales.” Confused yet? Don’t worry; it’s one of the murkier stylistic distinctions in the roughly 100 styles and substyles of beers out there. In general, traditional Scottish ales have leaned more toward sweeter, maltier flavor profiles than their dry, hoppy, British ale counterparts. The reason behind this is rooted in the fact that Scotland is home to abundant sources of barley but is quite distant from the principal European hop-growing regions. Scottish ales also tend toward darker malts than English versions. Belhaven Scottish Ale is certainly maltier than hoppy. On the nose, expect a subtle mustiness and slightly peppery hop aroma, both offsetting the honeyish, caramel malts, with an ever-so-slight note of anise. This medium-bodied beer has a smoky, gently peppery flavor that balances the firm malt backbone. Look for the caramel, honey-like sweet malts to become less bashful as the beer warms, and an exceptionally clean finish. Some pairing suggestions: lamb chops with gravy, flame-grilled chicken and veggie skewers (a little bit of char on these will really marry the smoky elements in the beer), or a well-done, pepper-seasoned London Broil.
The Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. is the oldest surviving brewery in Scotland, and one of the oldest in all of the U.K. Its roots as a commercial brewery go back to 1719, but most historians accept that a brewery has existed on the site since at least the Middle Ages. The two wells and some of the cellars contained within the brewery date from at least the 15th century, and credible evidence indicates that the wells were dug by Benedictine monks in 1415. The Benedictine, or "blessed," order was blessed indeed in the art of ale brewing, though it seems their sacred brewing gifts were earned rather than ordained. The brothers worked at the Belhaven site for several hundred years, cultivating the land, planting crops, and digging wells. So notable were their efforts, and enduring their presence, that the land on which the Belhaven Brewery now stands became known as “Monk's Croft.” By the 16th century, brewing had been firmly established at the brewery site; records document that Belhaven ale was supplied to the Franco-Scottish army, which was bent on invading England in the 1550s and which, at that time, was garrisoned at nearby Dunbar Castle. By the early 18th century, the Brewery had come into the ownership of Mr. John Johnstone, an event commemorated by the carving of the date 1719 into a support beam still present in the brewery. A single family then owned the brewery for more than 250 years, firmly securing the styles and recipes of this famed brewers' (bel)haven. If you'd like more information about the Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd., check out www.belhaven.co.uk.
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