To nitro or not to nitro, there is no question
A Review of Belhaven Wee Heavy by Belhaven Brewery
Posted on 6/19/2011 by Chops
Yesterday marked an interesting personal discovery for me in the brew world. My co-founder and I were enjoying a few tasty beverages at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, NC when he asked what they had on nitro. Outside of the occasional Guinness, it had never occurred to me to order a beer on nitro. I always just assumed that beer came one way or the other. So when our waitress informed us of Belhaven Wee Heavy on nitro, I couldn't help but order one.

For those unfamiliar with nitro beer, it's basically a substitute for standard carbonation. Nitrogen is used instead of carbon dioxide to pressurize the beer. The result is a rich, thick and creamy head with a less carbonated taste. In simpler terms, think Guinness look and feel applied it to other beers.

When you see a nitro beer in the glass, it almost looks like a milkshake before settling down. The top quarter of the beer is a rich creamy head, while the other portion is swirling with nitrogen bubbles. It's a really neat appearance, but you have to let it settle before you can grasp what the beer is. Belhaven Wee Heavy has a pretty typical Scotch Ale look to it. A nice chestnut brown with lighter hues around the edges. It has an earthy malty aroma, so you know it's going to have a bit of heft to it. Pretty standard, nothing eyebrow raising at this point.

The first sip of a nitro beer is smooth as silk. It took me a while grasp flavors because they were all pleasantly softened. The nitro mouthfeel is what initially catches your attention. I was amazed how much the nitrogen tamed the beer. But once you've had a few full-bodied sips, then you start to pick out flavors. I definitely picked up a lot of caramel along with some sweet malts and nutty undertones. There are many other flavors swirling around in there and it's high level of drinkability makes it a fun beer to dissect. The finish is warm and muted, leaving a mildly chocolate-like aftertaste.

Overall, Belhaven Wee Heavy is a delightful Scotch Ale. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to trying it's carbonated doppelganger. I would certainly recommend it to fans of darker brews. I also think it might be smooth enough for more novice drinkers to appreciate as well. So hats off to Belhaven, they officially have my attention. I will look forward to trying the rest of their line.

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Belhaven Wee Heavy by Belhaven Brewery
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