Zesty in character and jam-packed with a creamy finish, the Newcastle Winter IPA is full-bodied and hoppy, delivering unique and authentic malt flavors for the cold season and snowy matchdays.
*This beer was provided by the brewer for the purpose of a review.
Karl: One of the least enjoyable beers I had in 2012 was the Newcastle Summer Ale. Basically the same thing as a regular Newcastle with some weird, unfriendly floral and citrus flavors jammed on top of it, it was just awful. So to say that I was entering into a sample of their Winter IPA with some serious hesitation is to put it mildly. And given the fact that there was pretty much no flavor at all to this beer, this review should be seen as a victory.
Light sweetness of caramel to start gives way to…nothing. Inoffensive and nearly nonexistent, the beer offers no reason to either like it or hate it. Calling it an IPA seems more a marketing idea than an actual brewing follow-through, because there’s only the barest hint of murky hops bitterness on the tail, but disappears in an instant. The body is strangely hefty and syrupy for a beer that has next to nothing else to offer. They got the above description half right – full bodied, yes; hoppy, no sir.
As for the Winter aspect…well, I have a hunch that someone told the board of directors that “beer drinkers like seasonal flavors now” so they slapped the word “Winter” on there and gave it a blue label so people would have something new to look at on a grocery store shelf. Maybe I’m a bit of a beer cynic. I don’t know. But I can’t say I felt the same way about this beer as I disliked the summer offering from Newcastle, so…
Ryan: Seems you and I are going to line up on opposite sides of this one, Karl, because not only did I not mind this new beer from Newcastle – I actually kind of liked it.
Sure, it didn’t bowl me over with hops but, frankly, I wouldn’t expect an IPA from Newcastle to do so – nor would I expect an English India Pale Ale to be inordinately hoppy. It is what it is.
The hops that were present were mild, slightly herbal and retained solely in the finish. In fact, the first two-thirds of this beer tasted like a Newcastle Brown Ale; creamy, earthy, caramel-y and a bit nutty.
The carbonation was effervescent and enjoyable and the finish was smooth and a smidge dry.
I’d happily sip this again and actually wouldn’t mind trying it on tap sometime for comparison’s sake.