#AroundTheNorthIn80Beers – Day 6
Beer: Newcastle Brown Ale
The Brewer: Heineken
So familiar, so how do I explain it for any newcomers?
When I realised that I was due to blog about Newcastle Brown Ale today, I realised it was possibly more of a challenge, especially as some readers (as strange as this might seem to a beer fan born and bred in North East England) may not have tried it before.
Newcastle Brown Ale. Newcy Brown. Brown Ale. Dog. It’s a drink that goes right back to my teenage days and was probably one of the first beers I ever drank. It’s something of a ritual.
That’s probably why it’s so familiar, so full of reminiscences. The aroma and taste are ingrained into me, the smell alone taking me back to workingmen’s clubs and dingy pubs, when beer was beer and Brown Ale was something different. Way before the days of craft ales, the resurrection of IPAs.
There were four colours for beer*; lager coloured (lager), beer coloured (light brown), black** (Guinness) and Brown Ale (dark brown).
You see, this is why it’s so difficult to blog about. What does it taste of? It tastes of Newcastle Brown Ale.
It tastes traditional because it’s a memory, as much as it is a drink. Even if many memories have been lost into the beer void as a result of drinking it.
You can taste the malted barley, backed up by more barley. There’s sweetness in it. And a pleasant, but not long-lived aftertaste.
But you don’t take your first drink of Brown Ale because someone tells you it tastes good. You do it because it’s a tradition. It’s a ritual. You’re in Newcastle, you drink Brown Ale – when in Toon…
And the great thing is that it comes in a 550ml bottle, so you can enjoy lots of it in one go, especially as it’s a respectable 4.7%.
*If you lump lager into “beer”. I don’t.
**Ok, so it’s technically red. No, really. Look it up.
Where in the North?
So, we’re back in Newcastle. As a Sunderland fan, I could feed you all sorts of misinformation about the home of our biggest rivals (even if we have fallen well off the pace in the last couple of years), but the truth is that I love the city. It was home to my favourite ever club, The Mayfair, which is sadly now a car park. It was home to the now defunct Newcastle Vipers Ice Hockey Club that I watched week in, week out. It has great shops and, you’ll be glad to know, some fantastic pubs for enjoying quality beer.
Lucozade was invented in a pharmacy in Newcastle in 1927.
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I’m 42, I don’t have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more