| Booze |

Brew Blog: Scottish Stout From Belhaven Brewery

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Close followers of Brew Blog (thanks, both of you! No, no, kidding) will know that Scottish beers are never far from our hearts, nor are stouts of most kinds. So it was a cheap thrill for us to spot Belhaven Brewery's "Scottish Stout" on the shelves at Central Market recently.

Many others around the Information Superhighway seem to find this offering exquisite. The beer averages an A- from 105 reviewers on BeerAdvocate, while an Examiner.com guy in Dallas labeled it "Guinness' worst nightmare.

We're not so sure. To be fair, (1) we were foolish to fall for a stout in this season, (2) we'd had a small glass of wine much earlier in the evening, with much water in between, and (3) we were recovering from a nasty canker sore.

But still. We weren't in a vegetative state. And look, to be clear, the first 75 percent of this beer was excellent. The pillowy, copious, caramel-colored head correctly foretold a smooth, creamy, vaguely chocolate-tinged beer. Carbonation was low, adding to the smoothness; this beer can be savored and drunk slowly (and the flavor was appropriate to hold in the mouth). It finished sweet without ever becoming syrupy.

But the finish, the last 25 percent, wasn't always welcome. On good sips it finished sweet, smooth, then faded to reveal a bit of roasted charcoal. Fine. Many sips didn't play out that way, however. There was too often a lingering bitterness we chalked up to the ashy, charcoal bitterness of the roasted malts (three malts, they kept telling us on the bottle). Regardless of precisely what made up that flavor, however, it wasn't all that pleasant.

It's possible we've miscalled this one. And it's not awful, it's not bad. But we don't feel wrong labeling it mediocre. Pass on this, folks, at least until the temperature drops quite a bit.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.