Sunday, January 15, 2012

Newcastle seasonal brews: pre-release review

Type: Newcastle
Origin: UK
Price: how much your mom cost me

The Newcastle folks were super cool and sent us (both east AND west coast correspondents!) three each of two new seasonal brews to sample: Winter IPA and Werewolf blood red ale.

Let's start with the winter IPA. I must disclaim that I am a bit of a hophead. My first impression of this beer was: it's a Newcastle (apparently the only type of beer they make), so for those of you fond of Newcastle, this one will be a win. The recipe tastes exactly like the standard Newcastle brew, with some subtle  hints of hops and maybe wintry spices if you use your imagination. I think they were trying to stick true to the typical Newcastle flavor to avoid distancing their long run customers. Personally, I would have labeled such a brew as an ale or maybe a pale ale, but by San Diego hop mountain standards it falls a bit closer to the ale side of the spectrum. Being an IPA fan, I have a hard time calling this one an IPA, but it's certainly closer than a standard Newcastle. I've come to expect a beer labelled 'winter' to have a bit more spice too, but maybe they're just talking about the season and not the style on that part of the name. All things considered, this was a tasty Newcastle-esque brew with more hops, hints of spice, and perhaps a slightly overambitious name.

On to the Werewolf blood red ale. Not photographed, but the label was sort of cool. If you ask me, this one was also strongly Newcastle flavored. And blood red was a bit of an overstatement. I did get a mean tingle down my spine when the moon came out though, and I recall a stronger urge to chase rabbits and other small animals, and also howl, so maybe there is something to this werewolf naming...

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