The Halftime Pint: Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, areearly in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.

The Beer: Twisted Thistle IPA, Belhaven Brewery– Dunbar, Scotland, United Kingdom

The Pub: The Queen Vic, in Northeast DC

What You Need to Know: I’ve covered the history of the Belhaven Brewery in a previous post. In that post, I also mentioned that the Scottish climate is also typically unkind to hops. Brewers of old in Scotland would then use whatever was handy to spice or preserve their beers- so Scottish brewers would often use thistle or heather. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with this beer; it’s just a clever name. But there are breweries in Scotland that still use heather for their beers. We’ll get to them at some point.

We’ve also covered the sea-faring roots of the India Pale Ale before. This is the first IPA we’ve handled that was actually brewed in Britain, so there are some definite differences from most US craft IPAs. For one, the hops will be dialed way, way down, and the malt base will be closer to an Ordinary Bitter than an American Pale. Flavors will be much more subtle, in other words.

So, About this Beer: Pours a pale copper with a thin white head. Heavy malt and floral aroma. Mouthfeel is surprisingly syrupy, and the carbonation quite faint. Tropical fruit heavy on the initial flavor, fading to a nice hop and mineral finish.

The Verdict: Being an British-style IPA, this is a really sessionable, quite understated beer for an IPA. It’s a perfectly good standby to have, and I definitely recommend it for just about anyone.

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3 responses to “The Halftime Pint: Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

  1. My favorite IPA by a wide margin.

    This beer does god’s work of showing the world that not all IPAs have to be the nuclear hoppy American kind.

  2. I must go to this Queen Vic when I’m in DC next. I turn 21 in a few weeks so I can finally do this whole “go to a bar at 7am” thing.

  3. Tno: You’re more than welcome, though most of the Spurs supporters end up at Lucky Bar.

    Smuts: British IPAs are the best.

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