Upon reflection, my first introduction to the “one and only” was somewhat appropriate. It was first introduced to me during my machining course at TAFE as the teacher was demonstrating the use of cutting lubes on a large drill press. “Chuck some Newcastle Brown Ale in there”, he said whilst applying a liberal amount of brown cutting oil. Fortunately, I discovered that although this beer is uncannily similar in colour, it offers substantially more pleasant drinking than the viscous cutting oil.
Newcastle Brown Ale is an iconic beer originally hailing from Newcastle in Northern England. One may say that if you haven’t had a Newcastle, you haven’t had a brown ale. It was a working man’s beer and was often associated with heavy industries of the region such as steelmaking. Accordingly, an affectionate nickname is “newkie brown”, and perhaps the less complimentary “dog”. Sadly in an all too familiar scenario, Heineken and Carlsberg joined forces and conducted a takeover of Scottish & Newcastle brewers and this icon of North East England is now in fact Dutch/Danish.
The beer pours well and develops a generous fine creamy head with good retention. True to its name, the colour is a deep clear coppery red which appears brown when not held to light. The aroma holds hints of toffee and is clear and inviting. Newkie is very smooth and quite mild to taste with toffee sweetness. The hops bring pleasant tangy overtones and mild bitterness. Medium/mild carbonation ensures that the flavours remain accessible. The finish is malty but remains adequately refreshing to quench your thirst after your double shift followed by a strike at the steel mill.
Overall, Newcastle Brown is a staple; an honest beer which can be relied upon. I’d recommend this beer with any good hearty pub meal such as a nice steak.