When it comes to beer, Newcastle is a suds-meister. The brewmasters at the Caledonian Brewing Company in Edinburgh, Scotland, have been up to their necks in malts and hops for 80 or so years, crafting variations of its famous brown ale.
Each year, Heineken International distributes several special-edition, seasonable Newcastle beers for limited times. Rotating through the calendar year are Summer Ale, Werewolf ("Naturally blood-red in color") and, in December-January, Winter India Pale Ale.
Now on the U.S. market for the first time is Founders' Ale, honoring Newcastle's five founding breweries. We asked a few beer-drinking buddies to pop some tops at an informal tasting and offer their opinions. Among them:
"It starts out sort of sweet, then becomes interestingly bitter. The colder, the better."
"I can taste caramel, and I like the foam."
"Good mouth-feel, not too carbonated."
"Even though it's amber, the body is a lot lighter than you'd think. It gets better as you go along."
Founders' Ale will be around Sacramento into April, for $9 a six-pack. Visit www.newcastlebrown.com.