Craft Beer Preview: Newcastle Summer Ale

If you've been following my little beer videos, you've likely noticed that  the US agency for Newcastle Brown Ale has been sending me their seasonals to talk about. So we are now ready to taste out their current offering, Newcastle Summer Ale.

This is another specialty beer made under the Newcastle label by fellow Heineken property, Caledonian, in Edinburgh, Scotland. That's probably still close enough to Newcastle to make no never-mind, but I once had a Geordie pen pal who might have taken issue with that.

Anyway, Newkie's Summer Ale is in the Golden or Blonde Ale style, a light ale often offered by brewpubs as the brew most like "regular" beer. The English version is notable for a slightly higher level of hops. So what did I find under the cap?

I poured my sample into a Nonick glass, the standard English pub glass which is mostly a larger kind of tumbler. It kicked up a big head, as I often get from a healthy beer. The usual "plain beer" smell as befits this style. The body has a golden malt color, slightly darker than the usual pale beer. With the first sniff, I got what seemed like some German hops in the nose. The first taste, once I get around the foam, brought in a few more earthy English hops. And I don't know if it's just me, but with some English hops, I get an occasional hint of mint. While the alcohol level is listed at a medium 4.4% by volume, it tastes a little stronger than that, maybe it’s the presence of extra malt. The finish is clean, much like a pale lager. It's maltiness might make this a complement to spicy foods. If you're having friends over who are "craft curious", this would be an intriguing addition to your beer menu. Newcastle Summer Ale is now in stock at grocery and liquor stores in the Chicago area.

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    Mark McDermott

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