Newcactle Breweries, Ltd.
They Say: Well, this beer must be so widely known and consumed that they apparently didn’t feel the need to write up a true description of their famous beer. Their web site does contain phrases like “smooth, never bitter,” and “full flavored, yet easy to drink.” We guess that will do.
I Say: This is the most popular brown ale in the world, and it is the standard by which all others are measured. It stakes claim to being the best-selling bottled beer in the UK, as well as all of Europe. It has a link to English pub lifestyle so strong, that it is nicknamed the “dog.” This comes from men using the excuse, “I’m going to walk the dog,” or “I’m going to see a man about a dog,” which really meant they were going to the pub. Newcastle boasts a gorgeous, reddish-brown body under a light golden head. It should be sweet, mildly hopped, with a creamy mouth and smooth finish. It should be one of the easiest drinking beers you can have, and has long been one of my favorite brews. Unfortunately, that was not my most recent experience with the fabled beer. I sampled two bottles of Newcastle for this article from two different stores, and each one was flat-out spoiled. Spoiled by light exposure, and spoiled by heat. It just has to be hotter than 65 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit to damage the beer’s flavor. Long shipping overseas, trucking across country, sitting in warehouses, and then the time on the store shelf all leaves the beer vulnerable to mishandling. Inconsistency in the quality of imports is always an issue, but Newcastle’s use of clear bottles only compounds the problem. You see, nothing is more damaging to beer than sunlight, and clear bottles not only allow all of that gorgeous reddish-brown beer shine through, but also allows all of those UVs to be soaked up, too. Nevertheless, this beer is still the king of all brown ales, and I encourage you to try it, but I would find a pub that serves the beer on tap, cleans their lines often and goes through a lot of it. That’s the best way to assure that you’re getting the best quality import you can.
Photo by: Joe Szebeni - True Image Photography