Newcastle, known for 80 years for its Northern English Brown ale, has been expanding its portfolio to include limited edition seasonal beers.
So far, the brand’s owner, Heineken, has rolled out a Newcastle Summer Ale, and a Werewolf fall ale. Now appearing in store shelves is Newcastle Winter IPA. Like the other seasonals, it is brewed at Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh Scotland (production of Newcastle left its namesake town for Tadcaster, England, some years before).
Newcastle’s American PR people have sent me some Winter IPA to sample. They are also letting me give away some branded schwag to a reader. First let’s talk about the beer.
I cut the “One-Take Beer Review” video attached before I read further and found it was in fact made in Scotland, but I had already gotten the impression there was some Scots style to it. I pour straight out of the bottle to kick up some foam, and this beer offered a big, slightly brownish head over a brownish amber body.
A word first about India Pale Ales. The original version of this style had only slightly more hops than the standard British ale, and just a bit more alcohol, to help preserve it on the trip from England to the India colonies. We American beer fans found the style and decided it needed “more.” More hops, more bitterness, more everything. So the British IPA tends to pale by comparison. Just be prepared.
The brown beer body, nicely filtered, is more ruddy than most Pale Ale, and that’s where I started to see the Scots influence, or just a call back to Newcastle’s original “broon.” The smell was just a little amped in spicy English hops, but again, with a slight peaty note of northern brown malt. The taste was somewhat complex: Light carbonation mouthfeel, still with brown malt as it major taste component. A bit of smokiness. Hops were earthy, with a flash or two of mint, and some sweet orange. A slight edge of sourness, like some staled beer was blended in, Guinness style. So, despite the naming, it’s more malty than we expect from IPAs, especially we who are used to American hop bombs. And the alcohol is 5.2%, maybe stronger than an English session beer, but just a fraction above a Bud or Coors. A distinctive, slightly different statement on British beers. I've just checked to see that it is available at Binny's and has been reported at Jewel/Osco stores around here.
Here’s the giveaway. One reader of this article will be picked to receive the following gear:
Newcastle Brown Ale Cooler Bag – A fitting and stylish way to make sure all your supplies and brews are kept cold and intact. A telescoping handle and wheels to make it easy to haul heavy bottles and ice.
Newcastle Geordie Schooner – The official glassware of Newcastle, the Geordie Schooner ensures a perfect pour and taste every time it is served with the traditional Brown Ale or Limited Edition brews. It also has a laser etched nucleation pattern to help keep bubble flowing.
So here’s the deal. Add a comment to this article with a working email address. You can trick the address out so bots won't scavenge it, as in "Myname at email dot com." I’ll sort them out after the deadline of 6:00 p.m. Central, on Monday, January 2 and pick one winner at random. E-mail addresses will NOT be used for marketing or any other purpose by me. Winners must be residents of the United States. The prize package will be sent by Formula PR. Good luck, and Happy Holidays.