Monday, December 17, 2012

Newcastle Winter IPA

The Caledonian Brewery Company LTD, famous makers of "Newcastle Brown Ale", continue their quest to capture a piece of the ever-growing craft beer market with the release of  "Winter IPA". A few years back Newcastle released "Newcastle Summer Ale" their first seasonal offering here in the states. That beer didn't  really capture the essence of summer, and was in my opinion merely a "light" version of Brown Ale. Earlier this year we were treated to "Werewolf", an Irish Red Ale with a roasty malt backbone and a mild hop finish. These beers are all part of what Newcastle calls their "limited editions". They're exclusively brewed in small batches utilizing Newcastle's open-fired copper kettles at the Caledonian Brewery. 

 Newcastle Winter IPA pours copper in color with a bubbly off-white, quickly dissipating head. There was no real discernible aroma, and for an IPA (English or not) is the proverbial "kiss-of-death" to American Hop Heads.  As I ventured on in my tasting I discovered a nice roasty Irish malt flavor with hints of spices and a mild sweetness. Contrary to the brewers intent this IPA was practically void of any hop character in it's flavor or aroma. There was a fair amount of bitterness, but that I believe was associated with the roasted malt and or the fire kettle brewing.

 The ABV is low at 5.2%, which adds to its one saving-grace, drinkability. Winter IPA isn't a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination. A good Winter Ale? Yes! An IPA? well.. not-so much.  Cheers!

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