Jan 31, 2012

Newcastle Founders’ Ale

Founders' Ale photo

There was a time (many moons ago) back in college when all I drank was Newcastle Brown Ale. As a student prone to be as thrifty as possible with what little cash I had, I usually resorted to ingesting mass quantities of macro-lagers, but once I tried my first nutty, malty Newcastle that all changed.

Now, I’m not attributing my evolution into a craft beer drinker to a fuller flavored and reasonably priced six pack — that honor goes to a long gone deli in downtown Fredericksburg and its rather small selection of Rogue beers and Belgian ales. I’m just saying that Newcastle Brown Ale and I have a bit of history; a history that may never have happened had Founders’ Ale been available back then instead.

Adorned with a five pointed star representing the five founding breweries of Newcastle, the company’s latest limited release is an English Pale Ale that was a treat to enjoy. It’s brewed with premium malts and Styrian Goldings hops that give the brew 20 IBUs — just enough of a bitterness presence to nicely balance out the lightly toasted malt character. And at 4.8% ABV, the brew is just about sessionable, a dangerous prospect indeed as this brew was not only a pleasant surprise, but if made available year-round, it would also be the product that I would easily select over the brewery’s flagship product.


The brew pours a clean amber in color with a dense, creamy head.


Toasted bread and a balanced measure of grassy hops combine for a welcoming and refreshing nose.


An initial caramel malt and subtle sweetness fade smoothly over the tongue to a moderate level of hop bitterness that hangs around for a good bit after each swallow. The lightly toasted malt and grassy hops (also with a touch of grapefruit) work well together to present a refreshingly tasty drinking experience which is only reinforced with a crisp mouthfeel and medium body.


I’m no expert on English Pale Ales (or any beer for that matter) and my go to beer of this style is usually something along the lines of a Bass or Fuller’s. As it stands however, for a relatively simple brew, Founder’s Ale packs more flavor than expected and is right up there with what I would consider favorites of this style. It’s not a big beer, it’s not extreme in any fashion and it certainly doesn’t need any bourbon barrel aging. It’s a beer that is refreshing, well balanced and clean. I would love to have a six pack of this at the ready for the Super Bowl coming this weekend.

Rating: 4/5

This is a review of a promotional sample received from PR company representing the brewery.

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