Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Newcastle Founders' Ale (Caledonian Brewery)

"Newcastle," in the mind of most beer buffs, is but half of a phrase completed by "Brown." That classic ale has been brewed since 1927, despite the fact that the brand has changed ownership and the brewery location has moved multiple times over the years. The current parent company is the Heineken International conglomerate, and under its watch the Newcastle line has been expanded with a new seasonal ale every year since 2010. The spring release for 2012 is this Newcastle Founders' Ale.

It's hard not to be cynical about the folksy backstory on the label (see italics below) and assume this and the other seasonals are carefully calculated by the corporate marketing squad, but who knows. Let's let the beer speak for itself.

It pours a clear deep amber with one inch of fluffy head that is just slightly off white. Good lacing as the level drops. The aroma is of musty linen, earth, and faint lemon if you really work for it. Those subdued European hops at work.

The body is medium light and pretty crisp. The flavor is dry and malty, with low complexity. Finishes dry with almost no flavor traces except some bitterness.

This is a classic English-style bitter, alright. Not flashy, but admittedly pretty authentic tasting. Pick it up this spring if you're a fan of the style -- or just grab the "one and only" brown ale, which tastes the same as it ever did.

From the bottle's label:

We bring you Newcastle Founders' Ale, a unique Limited Edition brew with the drinkability you expect from Newcastle. Our Newcastle founders came together to produce beers with real star quality. This ale is a tribute to the heritage and authenticity of those top brewers of Victorian Newcastle. Founders' is a pale ale with a dry, hoppy flavour and aroma. It is sweet rather than bitter, with a short dry finish. What better way to toast the season of renewal!

Featured beer:
Newcastle Founders' Ale

Honorable mentions:
Newcastle Brown Ale

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