Northumbrian Brown AleSeptember 1, 2003 Gateshead, UK
Imported by: Wein-Bauer, Inc.
Franklin Park, IL
Available: IL, WI, MA, MN, NJ, TN, CO, IN, RI
The city of Newcastle, known for its brown ale, sits on the north side of the river Tyne. On the opposite banks is the city of Gateshead. The two cities, and a number of old shipyard towns and coal-mining villages on the rivers Tyne and Wear, form a metro area of a million people. The Federation brewery was founded by the labour unions’ welfare clubs, so that the working man could profit from his own thirst. (courtesy of Michael Jackson.)
Alcohol by weight: 3.58
Beautiful mahogany color, with smooth, nicely balanced aromatics and flavor that demands one be still and simply enjoy the fine palate on this beer. It is so-o-o smooth and enticing—how can one expect to limit one’s intake of such a friendly libation? Oh, those Brits have done it again.
- Fred Eckhardt
The strikingly muscular bottle, label and cap design lead to an expectation of northern sturdiness. The beer has a pale garnet-brown color and a slightly spicy malt aroma with caramel underneath. The palate is surprisingly dry and light bodied, but it has a broadly toasty caramel malt character propped up by focused bitterness. The finish is very dry and minerally. Tasty, and sturdy enough for steaks or burgers.
- Garrett Oliver
Last I remember, Federations Brown Ale was called High Level (after one of the bridges over the Tyne). That version was very similar to Newcastle Brown. This example is darker (tawny to dark brown), more viscous and sweeter. It has the typical crystal malt character of the North-eastern browns, but additional sweetness, coffee and aniseed flavors. Heading towards the old darker, sweeter, brown ales of Southern England. Even reminded me a little of American porters from before the micro era: Stegmaier and Yuengling, for example?
- Michael Jackson
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer Styleand Saké.
Internationally recognized brewer and expert on traditional beer, Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and the author of The Brewmaster's Table.
Author of Ultimate Beer, the Simon & Schuster Guide to Beer and numerous other works on drinks, Jackson has created legions of converts to fine beer.