Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beer Review | Newcastle: Brown Ale

Newcastle: "Brown Ale"


http://newcastlebrown.com   The website is very unhelpful and difficult to navigate.  It's a hipster website that really sucks.  There is nothing about the beer anywhere on the site.

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/newcastle-brown-ale/132/    Rating = 44
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/342/639   Rating = 77

Newcastle Brown Ale was originally created by Colonel J. Porter in 1925.  But it took until 1927 to perfect the recipe.

Currently, Newcastle is being brewed by Heineken Intl.  At times, over half of the brewery's output is directed overseas to the U.S.

Style: English Brown Ale
Color: Medium Amber
ABV: 4.7%

Bottle Code:

Varies depending on where you buy it.  But it ranges anywhere from $11.99 to $16.59 for a 6 pack.

12 oz bottles
Cans (In limited areas)


Depending on how vigorously you pour the beer, the head will be somewhere between nonexistent and one pinky finger.
But it only sticks around for a brief period of time then dissipates.


Crystal clear.  Light carbonation.


Very fruity smelling beer.  Just like most English ales.
There's a malt sweetness that is very present in the aroma, but nothing over the top.
There's a light breadiness that evens out the malt sweetness.


The first thing your going to notice is that there's absolutely NO hop character in this beer, which goes right along with the English Brown Ale style.  If there is any hop character at all, it's in the light bitterness.  But really it is only noticeable in the aftertaste, which only sticks around on the back of your tongue for about a minute then disappears.
There's no alcohol taste or presence in this beer.  But I wouldn't expect that from a 4.7% beer.
The pronounced English fruitiness is ever-present in the taste.

Surprisingly, in the bottle that I reviewed, there was none of that Import-Clear-Bottle-Skunkiness.  This was certainly refreshing, as I've never had a bottle of Newcastle that wasn't completely skunked.

Is it Worth the Money?  "No"
This beer was on sale at my local grocery store for $12.99 for a 12 pack.  That's down from it's normal price of $16.59.  However, at my local beer and wine store for $11.99.

I just can't see myself paying nearly $18.00 (after tax) for the regular grocery store price.  Not when it's only $11.99 down the street.

Since there's such a wide price-range on this beer, if your heart is dead set on buying Newcastle, seek out the best price.  Don't just go to your favorite grocery store and lay down nearly $18 when it can be much cheaper at another store.

This is just too over priced for what it's delivering to the senses.



Rating:  "C"

I feel like the flavors and aromas are so light and muted that this beer just isn't bringing much to the table.

If you're looking for a flavorful beer that you can drink quite a few of, this is not the beer for you.  It doesn't really taste like much.  However, yes you can drink a ton of them and not even get buzzed.

I guess you could consider this a nice transitional beer for someone looking to dip their toes into the craft beer world.  But would I call this a craft beer?  Definitely not.

This is what I consider the English equivalent to a Budweiser looking like, at least mass marketing-wise.

If I'm going to spend nearly $18 on a 12pk of anything, it's going to be something like Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada or a more flavorful beer than this.  Something that I can sit back and relax and have one or two and be completely satisfied.  Newcastle just doesn't give me that sense of satisfaction.

This almost feels like a novelty beer to me.  For example:
I bring this to a party because I'm trying ot make a statement. It says, "Look at me.  I'm sophisticated because I drink import beer."  While everyone else is downing BMC beers, I'm "sipping" on Newcastle.  Sipping... mostly because it's too expensive to chug.

Although, you might have the experience of bringing this beer, and others strike up a conversation with you because of the beer.  They'll ask you questions about what you're drinking, and then the conversation migrates to other topics.

So if you're interested in the social interaction aspect of this beer, then you might be willing to fork out the extra cash for the beer.  But I guess that's for you to decide.

A point of advice when shopping for this beer...  I've always complained about how this beer usually  has that clear bottle import skunkiness like Heineken and Corona.  But as long as you don't buy it off the shelf where it's been sitting in direct light (even fluorescent light), then you should be alright.  Personally, I always get the pack that's all the way on the back of the shelf.

Always buy the 12 pack of bottles or the cans because the packaging shields the beer from the harmful rays.  If you buy the 6 packs, there is more surface area exposed to the light which will skunk the beer faster.

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