Newcastle Brown Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

Newcastle Brown AleNewcastle Brown Ale
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Brown Ale - English
Ranked #290
Ranked #46,810
3.44 | pDev: 27.91%
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
Newcastle Brown AleNewcastle Brown Ale
Notes: We often think the best way to make new friends is to share a beer – and with some of our closest buds we’re taking it a step further and are brewing beer together! We are excited to be partnering with our friends at Newcastle to take over the brewing of their famous Brown Ale in our Petaluma and Chicago breweries.

And not only are we doing the brewing, but our brewmaster, Jeremy Marshall, has reimagined the classic recipe using Newcastle’s traditional ingredients -- fermented with Lagunitas’ English house ale yeast -- to bring forth a familiar but intriguingly new brew.

The reimagined Newcastle Brown Ale is a smooth, crisp, slightly roasty and hoppier beer, that’s not too bitter, not too sweet, and altogether uncommon. Brewed with Centennial and Chinook hops and available in the U.S., the Lagunitas-brewed Newcastle Brown Ale will hit shelves and delight lips in March 2019.

28 IBU
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 50 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheOccasionalBeer
TheOccasionalBeer from Wisconsin

2.5/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Two fingers of thick cream froth developed over the translucent burgundy brown brew. A short burst of slightly sour scent gave way to something closer to cooling, brown-sugared oatmeal. Hints of a sourness still pervaded on the tongue, mixed with with coffee and a little malt. The more I drank, the more the sourness came to the fore and the astringency to the throat.. and the less I felt like finishing. Started off promising, but ended up failing to deliver.

Nov 06, 2021
Photo of JohnDoe467

1/5  rDev -70.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

They absolutely ruined the brown ale and turned it into something so far removed from what a brown ale is supposed to be that they should be sued for even calling it such.

Sep 09, 2021
Photo of IceCzar

4.48/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I grew up with Newcastle. So it's comfort food. My assessment is likely biased. What is equally biased is my dislike of the new labeling. This is a historic brand, while not quite old enough to be immortalized by Edouard Manet (Bass) it's still disconcerting to to see wannabe sodapop graphics on my bloody beer. Luckily I can close my eyes and imagine the PROPER label.

Sep 09, 2021
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miwestcoaster from Michigan

3.51/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L- Dark Brown in color, but clear enough to see through it in my glass. White head that lingers as some lacing on the glass.
S- Picking up faint burnt malt and nothing much else.
T-Seems like a brown light to me, if there is such a thing.
F-Smooth, nice carbonation.
O-Good to pair with a meal, expectations kept low. I would say Lagunitas did not overachieve on this beer.

Mar 27, 2021
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nasty15108 from New York

3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Let's be honest here, Newcastle was never the same since Heineken too over. The Original stuff brewed in the UK was the best. The worst thing about this beer is that its called Newcastle. This is not Newcastle, you can't change your entire recipe and rebrand your product with the same name, that's just rediculous. That being said, this isn't a bad beer, its actually quite good, as long as you aren't looking for a Newcastle brown ale. IMO this is a pretty good American Brown Ale, nothing more, nothing less. The sweet maltiness I enjoyed in Newcastle is gone and has been replaced by a hoppy bitterness. Nothing against Lagunitas, they make quality beers, they do not however make Newcastle, not now, not ever.

Feb 27, 2021
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jjack99645 from Alaska

3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

If you poured this bottle into a glass and gave it to me without telling me what it's called, where it was brewed, or what style it's supposed to be, I'd give it a solid above-average rating. Unfortunately most of the people who have reviewed this beer over the past two years seem to have a chip on their shoulders because they don't like it as much as the REAL Newcastle Brown Ale. Their feelings are totally valid, but given that most of us don't have the option of doing a side-by-side comparison, their 1-star ratings and rants about the changes to the recipe aren't very helpful. I thought I'd chime in to review the actual beer, rather than comment on its history.

Lagunitas' Spin on the Newcastle Brown Ale pours with an okay head and is brilliantly clear, although dark amber. There's a sweet maltiness to the aroma. It has a crisp mouthfeel but finishes with some malty roast. The sweetness and bitterness are a nice balance. I'm not a fan of IPAs, or the general American strategy of destroying all yeast and malt flavors from a classic style and compensating by adding ever-more hops. Compared to the original Newcastle, maybe Lagunitas took things in that direction; but letting this version speak for itself, I think there's a good ratio of bitter and sweet. It might be too hoppy to be a proper English Brown Ale, but 28 IBUs is no hop bomb -- and really, looking at the BJCP guidelines, it seems to fall within the guidelines for a Brown Ale other than bitterness. Perhaps they would have been wise to let the Newcastle Brown brand go and call this one Lagunitas Dark Mild or Ordinary Bitter, to appease the nerds and avoid the backlash. Or, you could just peel the label off of it, and enjoy drinking it, because even though it's not a "real" Newcastle Brown Ale, it's still a good beer.

Jan 15, 2021

1.7/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

This is a Lagunitas Brown. This is not Newcastle. It's lighter, crisper, more bitter, and hoppier. This is a failed retooling of a classic for the American palate.
I've bought it twice since Lagunitas took over US brewing operations of Newcastle and both times I'm just extremely disappointed with the beer, the choice, and wasting money on a bad experience.
I hope this is just a "New Coke" ploy.

Jan 13, 2021
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SamZ from Texas

1.72/5  rDev -50%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bring back the original brewed in England. This is definitely NOT like the one I’m fond of. The nose is good, mouthfeel seems ok, but taste emerges flat and weak and i’m left longing for something to take the taste away.
I almost want to grab a lime and squeeze away.

Oct 25, 2020
Photo of IPAs_for_days_13
IPAs_for_days_13 from Texas

2.47/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Pours a deep brown color with a one finger tan head that leaves the glass pretty quickly. Smells malty for sure, also has some aromas of coffee & earth. Well this beer certainly smells better than it tastes unfortunately... It's rather watery & thin with high carbonation; was expecting something a little heavier/creamier. Really wish I could have tried the OG version of these.

Sep 15, 2020
Photo of Rover95
Rover95 from Illinois

1/5  rDev -70.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

What happened, row gets regular brown made in England and America gets another IPA from Lagunitas. Great idea. Reimagined ha. It's not even worth the effort to drill down how bad it is. Over to Samuel Smith nut brown.

Jul 05, 2020
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YourMommasMomma from Texas

1/5  rDev -70.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Unbelievably bad. cheap buzz, bad smell, bad taste, ugly bottle, cheap feel, cheap bottle, cheap after-smell. Horrid.

If you believe this "re-imagined" beer is anything REMOTELY like the old one, you are on crack. Gone is the berry skunk notes, the characteristic thin head, the thin malty body, the sweetness, the light feel, the generally happy and clean buzz, the thick clear bottle, the nostalgic feel. Whatever you thought of the old Newcastle, it had a unique character that was much loved by many people. "The working man's beer" as they called it in England.

This is pathetic. The worst example of soul-less corporate wine-slim that mock their own constituent consumers.

(P.S. I'm glad Beer Advocate has separated reviews for "Lagunitas Brown Ale Reimagined" and the old Newcastle that people actually like and drank.

Jun 14, 2020
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superwho24 from Arkansas

4.17/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I wish I could compare side by side with the old version. They’re different. Going off memory here and with help from other reviews; this one is darker in color, more roast in smell and flavor, overall a little more complex. That being said, I personally liked the old style. It was sweeter, and I liked that. I don’t know how to put it into words, other than it was good ole Newcastle. Probably mostly nostalgia on my part. But changes happen and the “New” Newcastle is a good beer. Cheers

Mar 10, 2020
Photo of samedifferentthing

2/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am absolutely devastated that the New Castle that I have been drinking for years was replaced by this no where near as good version. I can’t even find the original in California. Shame on you for destroying one of the best beers in the world!

Feb 01, 2020
Photo of detgfrsh
detgfrsh from Texas

3.89/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle. Dark brown color with a finger of cream colored head. Sweet malty aroma. Medium body. Malty taste with some toffee and earthy notes. Nicely done, it's been years since I had the Heineken version but this is better than I remembered.

Jan 26, 2020
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Foyle from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from 12 oz bottle into schooner glass. A 2" bubble off white head falls slowly with mild lacing. Color is reddish-brown and moderate streaming carbonation. Aroma is mild with some hints of coffee, dark fruit, and toasted bread. Mouthfeel is medium with a mostly dry finish. Flavor echoes the aroma with coffee, dark roasted malt, plum, and earthy hops. Overall: it is good but I actually prefer the much-maligned original version.

Jan 17, 2020
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. No dating information found.
Clear, ruby brown colored body. Very persistent egg shell white head, which appears quite creamy and small bubble. On the drinking side, a sheet of lacing is left but the majority slides back down into the glass. Still leaves an attractive lacing pattern.
Aroma of muted roasted malts and earthy/floral hops.
Taste is toasted malts and caramel, with the back side being more floral/fruity hops. Low bitterness and sweetness levels. Mellow malt and hops balance in the after taste.
Medium plus mouth feel, with a creamy texture. Very good carbonation.
After one of these beers, it appears to be a good candidate for session work. Each end of sip calls for another. This is an all around well balanced beer.

Jan 14, 2020
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

4.02/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent clear brown body topped with a dense and creamy head, nicely sculpted; sticky sheets of foam cling to the glass. Warm and sweet malted grain smell; toffee and hazelnuts. Slightly sweet, slightly fruity, but all wrapped up in a tasty malty body with some toffee and roasted nut notes; low-level hop bitterness. Medium body; warm; coats the tongue a bit; sticky sweetness.

I've had Newcastle Brown Ale numerous times but never reviewed it since being a BA member, and certainly have never had the Lagunitas version until now. This beer is well-balanced and delightful to drink. The malt qualities are there across the board. There is some sweetness, but it isn't overpowering. It is the roasted, dark grain character that really shines.

Oct 14, 2019
Photo of UristMcBrewer
UristMcBrewer from Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a nice brown color that is reddish when held up to the light. The head that forms is very persistent. It is a nice brown ale with a great malty smell. The taste is malty as well but more subdued with earthy notes. It is sweet, but not overly so. The body is thick and very nice. Overall, its a good beer but doesn't really stand out.

Oct 07, 2019
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superspak from North Carolina

4.01/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass; bottled on 3/20/2019, BBE 3/2020. Pours crystal clear dark ruby red, light copper/brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Thick foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and brown bread dough/crust; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, smoke, raisin, plum, fig, pear, red apple, herbal, wood, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Slight touch of diacetyl, but not overwhelming. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and brown bread dough/crust; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, smoke, raisin, plum, fig, pear, red apple, herbal, wood, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal, woody, grassy, peppery, roasted bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, brown bread dough/crust, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, smoke, fruit, herbal, wood, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/roasted bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 4.7%. Overall this is an excellent English brown ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and pretty refreshing to drink with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Very flavorful and not watery for the ABV. Awesomely clean/rich English malt complexity; with nice noble hop presence/balance, and restrained fruity yeast. Mild residual sweetness with lingering bitter dryness. A really enjoyable offering, and impressive spot on style example. Definitely substantially better than the one brewed at Heineken!

Jul 29, 2019
Photo of jkblr
jkblr from Indiana

3.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle with BBE 03/2020 printed on the neck poured into a Lagunitas jar glass at fridge temp 4.7% ABV. The beer pours bright medium brown in color with ruby highlights and dirty looking off white head. The head recedes to a thin ring and island of tiny bubbles. Minimal lacing. The aroma is full of toasted malt notes. The taste is semisweet caramel and toasted malt set against a firm but mild finishing bitterness. The mouthfeel is thin bodied with adequate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, very good. Way better than the last Newcastle I had a few years ago. Not much complexity, but the taste is mostly on target and the bitterness is restrained and balanced.

Jul 18, 2019
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Spellogue from Ohio

1.51/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

A sad, sad disappointment. I stopped in to a hole-in-the-wall bar serving only a small selection of bottles. No crafts, but two “imports”. I was happy to see Newcastle Brown on the list and ordered it, knowing I’ve always liked it when in the mood for a rich and mild malty brew.
I was surprised to see the new label and bottle, sad enough that the classic clear bottle was gone. My nostalgic displeasure turned to true dismay upon the first taste. THIS IS NOT NEWCASTLE. Instead it is a thin bodied, hop experiment, with a soapy aftertaste. Inspection of the label revealed why. Production was turned over to Lagunitas by Heineken and they ruined a near century-old classic.

Jul 10, 2019
Photo of Juno106
Juno106 from Florida

3.89/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

V2.0. Amber brown appearance. Nice tan head. Aroma is sweet, roasted malts, and floral hoppiness. Taste is sweet, creamy, toffee, and hops on the backend. Mild bitterness and bold.
In the late 90's and early 2,000's. New Castle was thin, watery and somewhat sweet. I find this one better than the original. Well balanced and full flavored.

Jul 09, 2019
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

3.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Poured out a clear, golden brown color with a small, tan head of foam. It smelled of roastiness, coffee and toffee. Subtle coffee taste, chocolate and toffee. Mild bitterness.

Jul 06, 2019
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78 from Illinois

3.67/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, date stamped BBE 02/2020. I'm super happy to see this one back (with a slightly altered recipe). My grandfather was born in Newcastle, so this is a special one for me. Rich brown colored ale with some reddish hues at the edges; foamy tan head. Aroma is sweet and malty, loaded with caramelized grain and a earthy malt presence. Malty sweetness for flavor: nutty grain, caramel, faint chocolate and dark fruit, earthy & spicy hops. Fuller body, creamy and smooth, dry balanced finish. Once again, glad to see this back in some semblance. The flavors are close enough to the original to bring back some nostalgia.

Jul 01, 2019
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SideShowGary from Illinois

4.19/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Better head and better nose than what was coming from Holland.
Amber brown with great cream color head.
Smell is toasted malts with some floral hop notes.
Taste is malty with hops providing backup.
The USA Hops comes through which is a good thing but wonder how it would be with a UK type only. Fuggles anyone?
Mouthfeel is just there, not much but a little chew with good carbonation. The finish is mildly dry, with lingering malt.
Thank you Lagunitas.

Jun 30, 2019
Newcastle Brown Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 50 ratings