Monday, January 21, 2013

Newcastle Winter IPA, A Review

Warning, blurry photo
Smooth and easy drinking, not the highly bitter IPA of the American IPAs.  This is definitely a British style ale.  The Newcastle Winter IPA is another of their Limited Release specialty beers.

Self proclaimed as a "Brilliant British Ale", this India Pale Ale is listed at 5.2% ABV, with 28 IBUs.  The copper color is quite attractive, and the hop aroma is nice too.  Caramel tones.  This has a nice mouth feel, not too thin.  Brilliant? 

Reading the specifications again, I'm wondering if this really is an IPA?  The BJCP style guidelines for a English IPA (14A) include: 

ABV: 5.0 - 7.0 (this fits the category, on the low side)
IBU: 40 - 60  (whoa, the 28 IBU is way low for the style)
SRM: 8.0 - 14.0 (This fits...not sure but probably 12-14ish)

By style, this is probably closer to an Extra Special/Strong Bitter, with specs of 30-50 IBU.  The ABV, SRM, and flavor profiles will fit this category too.

But, at the same time, styles are meant to be broken.  And why is it essential to conform to a style anyway?  And by adding the "Winter" to the name, it gives permission to be something different... something special.

This is not a beer for the over-the-top hop heads...don't let the IPA moniker fool you.  And I did enjoy it.

Get one now, while you can.