Sometimes We Just Stay Home and Drink: #25: Belhaven 90/- Wee Heavy, Dunbar, Scotland
Date: June 24 , 2019 —
The Story—Belhaven claims to be Scotland’s oldest brewery — it’s corporate existence dates from 1719 but some of the brewery wells are much older and nearby brewing traditions in Dunbar supposedly date back to 13th century monks.
It’s brewed under a variety of names in the last couple of centuries and existed though most of the 20th century as a maltster with a small brewing business almost as a sideline. (See Oxford Companion for more details.) Today it’s owned by England’s Greene King, but still seems to turn out beers that are pretty similar to what they were brewing a generation ago.
At one point we believe the Wee Heavy was only brewed for export, but Greene King is now taking orders for it on line in the UK. For a long time the abv was a modest 6.5%, but they upped it recently to 7.4% which still leaves it short of most American interpretations of the style
The Beer– Very sweet and dark. Some dark bread with a dark roast as well. Something just short of smoke may be a hint of peated malt or it may just emanate from the evident very dark caramel flavors. Balance is neither achieved…not attempted. Ellie found it disturbingly similar to sweet Coke and kind of sticky, but we both rated it well above average — it’s close enough to the classic style to be worth a try now and then even if you’re not a big fan of sweet beers.
Value — Good. Maybe very good if you like very sweet beers.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.
Sometimes we just stay home and drink beer — hundreds of them over the course of the year as we hunt for a new favorite. The searching for the beer of the day never stops, so for a while, there will be fewer travel-oriented posts and just some to-the-point descriptions of beers we’ve enjoyed.
We’re often asked to share our tasting notes on over 33,000 beers; this blog is in answer to those requests. Not all our notes, though. The great beer writer Michael Jackson admirably followed the Thumper Rule, and we’ll try to do the same. (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”) All the beers we post are from the top half of our ratings and most are from the top quarter. Of greater value, we think, are the stories behind the beers, and we try to give you enough about the brewery, the style and the places to find great beer to help you on your own beer journeys. At CulturAle Press we try to write books and publish posts that will help you “Drink Well and Travel Safely.”