Some might not consider Newcastle Brown Ale to be craft beer, but it’s what did it for me. On my 21st birthday, my mom went to Colorado Springs to celebrate since I was in the Army and couldn’t make it home. I chose to go out to Red Hot & Blue for dinner, and that particular place was a brewpub. I ordered a beer as I explored my newfound legality, but whatever I ordered was simply too much for my palate. Heavy, dark, and hoppy is all I remember. A convert that night I was not.
Years later I found myself in a hole-in-the-wall pub in another area in Colorado Springs with a friend who was brought up in England. He ordered me a Newcastle Brown Ale (Nukey) and I think I drank it from the bottle. It wasn’t overbearing, and it didn’t smell like vomit. It was served at a temperature somewhere in the 60s Fahrenheit, and it was so surprising that it wasn’t rancid. I was hooked.
I still drink industrial beer every once in a while (on a hot day), but less and less often every year. I just learned the other day that hop extract is in use more often now at the big breweries than real hops. A beer made with hop extract, corn, and rice isn’t a beer at all, so I really should find a craft alternative to AB-InBev and MillerCoors, like the no-adjunct Bomb Lager (Helles) from Bomb Beer Company.