The Halftime Pint: Newcastle Brown Ale

One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to day drink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith

The Beer: Newcastle Brown Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK (Now owned by Heikenken and brewed at John Smith’s Brewery)

The Pub: The Football Factory at Legends, on 33rd St. in New York

What You Need to Know: I corrected a grievous error by reviewing a brown ale last week; Newcastle is the most famous of the Northern English Brown Ales. As I recounted when reviewing the brewery’s Founder’s Ale, the signature beer was first introduced in 1927 by Newcastle Brewing Company’s Lieutenant Colonel Jim Porter, himself a third-generation brewer.

To fully recount the story, Newcastle Brown was the result of something that homebrewers might be familiar with: a failed clone attempt. Seems that Col. Porter was trying to make Bass Pale Ale, went a little heavy on the more roasted malts, and inadvertently created the Northern Brown, which is thinner and paler, but stronger, than the previously reviewed Mild Ale.

The sad history of how Newcastle is no longer brewed in Newcastle thanks to corporate mergers and consolidation is also briefly recounted in that earlier post.

So, About This Beer: Pours a deep brown with a bubbly eggshell head that dissipates to a thin cap. Chocolate and malt heavy on the nose. Those aromas continue to the flavor, where they’re joined by a steely mineral flavor, some yeasty esters and the faintest hop snap.

The Verdict: It’s lasted so long not only because it’s had some wealthy backers in the past; it’s also a damn fine beer, and an excellent baseline for a style. It’s also a nice comfort when your team is conceding shedloads of goals, as I was reminded this holiday week.


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