Spott Road, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1RS
Phone: (0) 1368 862734
Belhaven is the oldest operating brewery in Scotland as well as that of Britain as a whole. Brewing has taken place here in the coastal town of Dunbar, about 30 miles southeast of Edinburgh, since the time of Benedictine Monks as far back as 800 years ago. The brewhouse's lintel is engraved with the date 1719, recognized as the founding of the present brewery when it was taken over by John Johnstone. The brewery still maintains a staunch dedication to historical Scottish style brewing. At one time, like many of Scotland's long gone breweries, Belhaven had its own maltings that supplied not only the brewery but nearby distilleries. Before being sold to a hotel group in 1972, ownership was maintained by the same family for 250 years trading as Dudgeon & Company. Sandy Hunter acted as the final family chairman and head brewer until his retirement. Sadly, Sandy passed away in the late summer of 2007. Tumultuous times hit the brewery in the years after leaving family hands but management bought the company outright in 1993 and it remained one of the few independent breweries to have survived in Britain. Under the guidance of boss Stuart Ross Belhaven achieved significant financial success year after year. The brewery was purchased by Greene King of Suffolk in 2005 and Stuart retired from Belhaven in 2008.
Significant refurbishing and expansion has taken the brewery from a capacity of roughly 30,000 barrels per year in 1992 to around 100,000 barrels per year today with current production running at nearly 75,000 barrels. While cask ale is presently only about 5% of the total brewery output, the company's commitment to real ale is undiminished. A five-barrel experimental brewing setup was installed in 1999 by George Howell, Production Manager and Head Brewer, who worked formerly at Tennent-Caledonian's Heriot Brewery in Edinburgh prior to its being rationalised.
Belhaven continues to develop new beers for both the UK and their export markets.
- Belhaven Best - 3.2% ABV
- A well balanced Scottish beer with a neutral flavour.
- Belhaven Black - 4.2% ABV
- A Scottish Stout style beer bursting with the flavours of roast coffee and chocolate.
- Belhaven 80 Shilling - 4.2% ABV
- A red hued, rich and smooth Scottish 80/- or 'heavy'.
- Belhaven IPA - 3.8% ABV
- An India Pale Ale style beer with a fusion of malt and fresh hops. A clean, crisp flavoured beer with floral hints and citrus notes.
- Belhaven St Andrews Ale - 4.9% ABV
- Inspired by the famous home of golf and by the game itself, somewhat similar to Scottish Ale but lighter in colour and flavour.
- Belhaven Twisted Thistle - 5.3% ABV
- A Scottish interpretation of the an India Pale Ale style beer brewed with Challenger and Cascade hops for a citrus finish.
- Belhaven Robert Burns Ale - 4.2% ABV
- A malty ale that is dark, sweet, and almost toffee-like in flavour.
- Belhaven Fruit Beer - 4.6% ABV
- Brewed with a mixture of various soft fruits and carefully balanced bitterness to avoid being overly sweet.
- Belhaven Scottish Ale - 5.2% ABV
- Predominantly malty with slight roasted notes and well balanced hopping. This ale has been brewed by Belhaven longer than any currently produced beer.
- Belhaven Scottish Stout - 7.0% ABV
- Dominated by roasted barley and chocolate notes and a well balanced hop attack, this is one fine and easy drinking stout. Currently only available in bottled format and outside the U.K.
- Belhaven Wee Heavy - 6.5% ABV
- An often hard to find style, Belhaven's Wee Heavy is a fine example. Lovely maltiness without being overly sweet and just enough hops and alcohol to balance.