New Beer: Newcastle Winter IPA


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

We've got nothing against regular Newcastle. Smooth and creamy, with a nice toffee flavor and just a light bitterness, we're happy to drink it while watching football and eating chili. So our interest was piqued when we heard that Newcastle's releasing a new limited-edition beer. But a "Winter IPA"? What does that even mean, and can the Newcastle/Heineken folks pull it off?

Don't worry; this beer isn't a Christmas-spiced IPA. You won't find any cinnamon or cloves here.

The beer pours caramel brown, and fills the mouth with smooth toffee flavor—similar to what you get in the classic brown ale version. But there's a hop bite there, too, (it's 28-IBUs) from Super Styrian and Styrian Goldings hops, in an attempt, they say, to stay "true to the original, subtly hopped recipes of traditional 18th century India Pale Ales." This isn't an IPA for hopheads who tend toward West Coast brews, but it's a nice bittered-up version of an easy-drinking beer.

Have you seen the Newcastle Winter IPA in your local stores? Have you tried it yet? What do you think?