Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Total Score: 7.5/10 Flowers1 Honeycomb1 Coriander1 Nonicpint1

Next on the chopping block is this brew from East Lothian, Scotland (hey I’ve been there!) this possibly-aptly-named-but-I-wont-know-until-I’ve-tried-it Twisted Thistle IPA. True story: You can brew a beer with thistles. Sadly this isn’t a thistle brewed beer, but there you go – we both learnt something today, thanks Wikipedia! Less-than-true story: I invented a waffle-iron with a built in alarm clock so that you can have fresh cooked waffles in the morning when you wake up… actually that sounds pretty cool, PATENT PENDING!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear golden amber body with a massive 1 inch bone coloured head that soon drops back to a more drinkable 1 cm, mixing my metric and imperial measurements again – suck it US readers! Err, anyway, looks OK, nothing to write home about – just an average, non-bottle conditioned Ale right here. 6/10.

S: Sort of floral and herbal on the nose, not getting any of the grapefruit the bottle purports, hints within of a caramel and toffee malt base. Not bad Belhaven, haven’t had a decent floral beer in a while [*ahem* Brakspear Oxford Gold, 5 reviews ago]. So far it’s more an APA than an IPA but we’ll see when we taste… or taste when we taste even. 7/10.

T: Hmmm, indeed, still more APA, but yes it does strike you when the flavour hits with a sugary caramel snap then whips across to a herbal/floral bitter note in the finish. The flavour is remarkably polar opposites meet – actually they don’t even meet – they more give each other a cold hard stare from across a large auditorium like the US and Russian diplomats at the UN General Assembly. Honey makes an appearance as well – tipping it’s hat to the drinker. One gets a sense of a Scottish take on an APA here. Finish is slightly bitter and manageable. 8/10.

M: Almost medium, tinge of syrupiness with a light UK pub carbonation. 8/10.

D: This was a pleasant surprise, like that time I found a crisp $50 note lying on top of refuse in a trash can, not that I’m saying I was expecting this beer to be garbage but I wasn’t realistically expecting greatness either – but there you go, I could have another couple of these – they fit a flavour niche in my fridge door with that weird floral/herbal/honey you don’t find often in beers. This turned out more like some Scottish liqueur than a beer and I like that about it. 7/10.

Food match: Something sheep related, mutton stew, with a side of mash, some mint jelly as well… now we’re on to something…

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