Looking for a new English Brown Ale

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Kacyk2, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    For most of my adult drinking career, I've been a consistent drinker of Newcastle Brown Ale. I would not go to bars and restaurants that did not serve "The One and Only". Now that the original is gone, my life is empty. The new rendition from Lagunitas is simply unacceptable! Not even close to somewhat enjoyable! I know it's my fault for not stepping out of the box over the years, but I need some suggestions from those who enjoy this genre. I do not enjoy hoppy beers! May I ask for suggestions on brands that might be close to the original Newcastle? I am grateful for your insights!
    BenHoppy, Premo88 and PapaGoose03 like this.
  2. Mark-Leggett

    Mark-Leggett Savant (914) Jul 30, 2014 Missouri

    Maybe Nut Brown Ale from Samuel Smith
  3. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (693) Mar 12, 2013 California

    Check this list out for stuff near you: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/styles/74/
    I can recommend Bell's Best Brown if you get their stuff near you
  4. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,678) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Have you checked out the Newcastle on draught at your local? Our Old Chicago has always had it and it most definitely isn't the one brewed by Lagunitas.

    Sweetwater Georgia Brown. Have you tried it?
    Blueribbon666 likes this.
  5. Lazhal

    Lazhal Devotee (465) Mar 13, 2011 Michigan

    Not exactly similar to Newcastle, but Sumatra Mountain Brown is the best brown I've had.

    I'm not sure when it will be released again, but its cousin Underground Mountain Brown is being released nationwide in a few weeks. UMB is an imperial version of Sumatra which also happens to be aged in bourbon barrels.
    alucard6679 likes this.
  6. islay

    islay Aspirant (278) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale is a great beer but way more flavorful than Newcastle. We need to come up with something bland and watery. No offense to the OP, but that's the Newcastle (lack of) flavor profile.

    I'm tempted to recommend Shiner Bock and Modelo Negra. They're not English, and they're not ales, but they are brown, bland, and widely available.
  7. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    If that's an honest opinion, then don't bother trying any of the recommendations that people will make here for brown ales brewed by any American "craft" brewers. Odds are you'll dislike a clear majority of them. I'm with the folks above who recommend imports or "macro" beer. Having said that, I think you'll have a really hard time finding a beer that's readily available that actually tastes like the previous version of Newcastle. You might have better luck looking for a new favorite in a different style rather than a real replacement. Maybe try the Hofbrau Dunkel.
  8. FarmerTed

    FarmerTed Aspirant (208) May 31, 2011 Colorado

    Try Big Sky Moose Drool. Brown ales are hard to find on draught, though.
  9. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Thank you for your reply! The Samuel Smith Nut Brown is in the fridge and soon to be enjoyed. I really appreciate your feedback!
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  10. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Hi Stevepat, I really appreciate the link. Looks like I got my work cut out for me. I''m grateful to you!
    AlcahueteJ, FBarber and stevepat like this.
  11. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Hi Bitterbill! Yes! I have tried the Sweetwater Georgia Brown. I actually live in Georgia and felt like it was my responsibility to drink a few. Great beer, but not quite what I'm looking for. I reall appreciate your response!
    AlcahueteJ and Bitterbill like this.
  12. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Hi Lazhal, I have a BOLO for UMB. looking forward to giving it a try! Grateful to you Sir!
  13. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Hi islay! Great feedback! Not offended at all. I'm way too humiliated to be offended! But I am grateful as some of the greatest people I know are humble. You oughta try it some time!
  14. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,627) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Along the same lines, I was actually trying to come up with an amber lager with a slight roasty edge to it, but hell, that Hofbrau Dunkel is so good that he may as well start there. :wink:
  15. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Hi zid! I'm grateful for your insight and I must say I agree! Its like my favorite wife left me and I'm lookin for her twin sister! Doesn't seem remotely possible, but I will enjoy the hunt! I appreciate you!
    BenHoppy, cjgiant, zid and 1 other person like this.
  16. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    OK Farmer Ted, I wanna try the Moose Drool! No availability within 100 miles based on the website. I'm try to get a local retailer to order some!
    BenHoppy likes this.
  17. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    I appreciate you TongoRad! Based on you and zid, I will be drinking the Hofbrau Dunkel tomorrow. Can't wait!
  18. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,866) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Certainly not in my wheelhouse but I do enjoy the darker German efforts of Red Oak here locally. If smooth, creamy, malty beers are your thing then I’d think the style would be available most everywhere.
    rgordon likes this.
  19. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,459) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Welcome to the BA site, Kacyk2. It looks like the bar has been set up for you by all of the recommendations above, so I can't add to those that are listed. Good luck on your search.

    (I will reiterate one that is recommended above because I think you'll like it: Bell's Best Brown Ale. It is seasonal so you won't see it in stores yet, but it's due to show up in September and October. http://www.bellsbeer.com/beer#availability)
    Amendm, Kacyk2, officerbill and 3 others like this.
  20. scootercrabb

    scootercrabb Disciple (398) May 2, 2007 Illinois

    Hello Kacyk2,

    Not a brown ale but Bass ale is not bitter and smooth, unfortunately not made in England any more but I think it fits the taste you are looking for and easy drinker well rounded beer.
    Kacyk2 likes this.
  21. islay

    islay Aspirant (278) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Your taste in conversation seems to match your taste in beer. I wasn't trying to insult you but rather to steer the thread in a more helpful direction given that the early recommendations were for beers that I suspect you'll find as or more off-putting than the Lagunitas-brewed version of Newcastle. You emphatically say that you don't enjoy hoppy beers. Best I can tell, old-school Newcastle had around 18 IBU, and the Lagunitas version around 25. Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale has about 31. Bell's Best Brown Ale probably has around 35. The beers I recommended have 13 and 16 IBU, respectively. It's hard to have an honest and productive conversation using euphemisms and bromides. As far as I know, there are zero widely available brown ales in the United States that are as thin in aroma, flavor, and body as old-school Newcastle, and under 25 IBU is a rarity in American craft beers brewed in traditionally English styles.
    T-RO, Kacyk2 and Junior like this.
  22. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,311) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    That’s an analogy we can all relate to. :wink:
    Take a look at the date code printed on the bottle label before you buy it. Don’t buy it if it has an R. That’s a bottle from last year. Only buy bottles with an S. (This code is unique to Hofbrau... I’m assuming.) Those are from this year. Report back with your reactions even if you hate it. It’ll be a “cleaner” tasting beer. Please do the same for the Samuel Smith brown ale.
  23. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (693) Mar 12, 2013 California

    going off what @islay had to say about Newcastle, I've never drank it to my knowledge, and assuming it's as thin and as low bitterness as he claims I really think you might like some of the amber lager styles like dunkel. good luck @Kacyk2, hope you find your new favorite wife soon
    AlcahueteJ and thesherrybomber like this.
  24. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (147) May 14, 2018 Michigan

    Here in Michigan we have lots of brown ales, I think one you might like would be 1st Brown Ale from Atwater Brewing.
    Kacyk2 likes this.
  25. Junior

    Junior Defender (611) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    I drank a fair share of Newcastle Brown Ale before I really got into craft. It was probably a bit of a gateway beer for me, one that I started drinking after I grew tired of Bud Light and Coors.

    My recommendation is Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale. I have found it quite enjoyable.
  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It has been a very long time since I have consumed Newcastle Brown Ale but maybe a New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale will get you in the 'ball park'?

    I should caveat that it has also been a very long time since I drank a Fat Tire beer as well.

    Best of luck on your quest!

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  27. Kacyk2

    Kacyk2 Initiate (17) Aug 3, 2019 Georgia

    Well, maybe we got off on the wrong foot! My sincere apologies! I must admit that I'm not an intellectual, I'm not even sure what a bromide or a euphemisms is, much less an IBU. I have a degree in finance and can't even balance my check book! I guess I felt like you called my baby ugly. And my baby likely is ugly; I just get all insecure when people remind me of that. All that said, I do believe your intent was kind and sincere. I very much appreciate the time you put into your responses. It was not my intention to get into the deep science behind beer composition. I just wanna drink it! Your insights do have me intrigued and I will endeavor to increase my knowledge on the subject. I am grateful to you Sir!
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  28. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (693) Mar 12, 2013 California

    IBU stands for international bitterness unit, it's a way of quantifying how bitter a beer will taste. It's not usually printed on packaged beer (although sometimes it is, usually on an ipa) but if you find yourself in a brewery tap room there's a good chance it will be listed along side the ABV. It's not the whole story on taste by any measure but it can be useful info, especially if you prefer an especially bitter or especially mild version of a certain style.
    officerbill, AlcahueteJ and Kacyk2 like this.
  29. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,042) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You don't casually use the word "bromide" in your every day conversations?

    Come on man...:wink:
  30. Mark-Leggett

    Mark-Leggett Savant (914) Jul 30, 2014 Missouri

    Lets us know what you thought about it!!
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  31. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (713) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Shows how lazy I am.

    I read the title as New England brown ale.

    Quite happy I was wrong

  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    But now that you mention it.

    I would jokingly make a comment about it is only a matter of time that somebody brewed a 'NEBA' but in all likelihood some BA would post: But Brewery x in New England state y has already done this with their beer of Moo Brown Ale (or some such name).

    Bitterbill likes this.
  33. Junior

    Junior Defender (611) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    It has already been done. A local brewery tried it. It wasn’t the best.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  34. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,098) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Maybe their next one will be better?


    P.S. See, I was right in that someone would post that 'NEBA' has already been done. Did the brewery actually call the beer a "New England Brown Ale"?
    Bitterbill and Junior like this.
  35. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (713) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I do like a hoppy brown ale,

    Bells Best

    Stone/Alchemist partnership on more brown than black was by far the best I have had.

    Edit......its considered a black IPA not a brown ale

    I do not like NEIPA but would try a NEBA

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  36. Junior

    Junior Defender (611) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    They called it a NEIBA. IIRC they did it as ‘protest’ to the Haze explosion. The name of the beer is Throwin’ Shade.
  37. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,052) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Smuttynose Old Brown Dog hasn't been mentioned yet. Sad times.
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  38. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Devotee (452) Sep 23, 2018 Maine

    @Kacyk2 Not sure about its distribution range, but Thunder Hole Ale from Bar Harbor is a wonderful little brown, with hardly any hop character. Super round and nutty. For something a little richer, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil is absolutely phenomenal. More of a black ale, really, but it's to die for, and has no discernable hop profile. Or simply try a bunch of GA local brown ales, and you're bound to find a gem. Cheers!
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  39. Witherby

    Witherby Disciple (373) Jan 5, 2011 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Newcastle has gone through (at least) two recipe changes in the last few years in the US. In 2015 because of consumer pressure over health concerns they stopped using caramel coloring to achieve that color and started using toast malts which will get you that color but with a different flavor. Then in 2019 Lagunitas completely changed everything so it is definitely not anything like the original.

    Use of caramel coloring was very traditional and common in English and Scottish brewing. I just homebrewed a 1950s recipe of a Scottish 80/- beer using caramel coloring (that I had to get from a London homebrew shop because you can’t get it here in the states) and at one point in the process I tasted it and it reminded me immediately of Newcastle the way I remember it from the 90s. So maybe try a Scottish beer like a Belhaven or McEwans? I think you’ll find that less hoppy more caramel malty flavor you are looking for.
    Amendm, Bitterbill, Kacyk2 and 7 others like this.
  40. JA_26

    JA_26 Initiate (122) Feb 4, 2019 Pennsylvania

    Have you tried Yards Brawler? Not British (brewed in Philadelphia) nor a brown ale, but its a pretty tasty version of an English mild. Definitely more malt forward and less hoppy than most US ales, something like 12 IBUs.
    SaltofOH, Billet, keithmurray and 4 others like this.