When a box we couldn’t fathom arrived from a sender we’d never met, we were baffled. Then we opened it up and found a toy taxi. This was rapidly turning into an Encyclopedia Brown mystery, and to counteract that, we needed a drink. Fortunately, we found two of them in the bottom of the box, amid a bottle opener, coasters, and some beer-stained written materials. Up wafted the sour scent of beer mixed with chocolate.
Oh. It’s a press kit.
Should we drink the mysterious Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale? On the one hand, Newcastle is a solid beer. On the other hand–no, there is no other hand. Unexpected free beer is one of life’s simplest ecstasies, and you do not say no to it. Also, this would go well with two of our favorite unadvisable pastimes — accepting drinks from faceless strangers and drinking on the job.
Besides, despite careful packaging, one of the bottles had leaked a bit, so it would be criminal not to drink it before oxygen skunked its beery goodness and made the entire office smell as boozy as it used to back in the ’60s and ’70s, when hard-working reporters would get drunk and then ask politicians–oh my–the most horrible questions and put the fear of the first amendment into our government.
Gosh, those were the days!
Yes, any way you looked at it, we had a responsibility to drink this beer. And then write about it, because nothing’s free in this world, kid.
Oh, and they’re doing a promotion to get you free cab rides home from Taxi Magic, which is nice, because it allows for more drinking via less driving.
Man Cave Daily reviewer #1 — (Male, 33)
“The beer has a very smooth taste. It looks and tastes like a stout, but it is not. Like the chocolatey taste to it.”
Man Cave Daily reviewer #2: — (Female, 30)
“Lighter than I had anticipated (there were almost some citrus notes in there I think, but I could just have a suck-ass palette and not know what I’m talking about), but very enjoyable. Not too much of an aftertaste either, which is also a bonus.”
Man Cave Daily reviewer #3: — (Male, 33)
“Tastes a bit like a porter with a fruity finish–or rather it tastes like a very thin stout with a fruity finish, which goes along with the 4.5% ABV. Lacks the bitterness of a lot of black ales. Overall, pleasant flavor, but one at odds with the thinness. It’s got the flavors of a rich winter beer but none of the heartiness, ending up almost crisp.”
Man Cave Daily reviewer #3: — (Male, 57, wine reviewer, fictional)
“The true noumenon of great beer is, as the poet Baudelaire once wrote, “In you I fall, ambrosia from above.” He was speaking of wine of course, but what is wine if not the beer of grapes? And what is ambrosia naturally if not God’s beer? That Jove, upon his throne in grand Olympus might, having sampled this nectar deem it fair to share with we poor, chilly mortals, ah–! The bouquet of this flagon is that of chocolate and coffee–two comforts explosive in their delicacy.
“As for its taste, it is fastidious and redolent, with notes of regret and politesse–truly the ale of the hard-working English common man, in character if not practice. Its immaculate experience, simultaneously turgid and uneffervescent, is a mystery to the drinker, and in this mystery, we find the attractions of our baser natures. To drink! To philosophize! To lust for the first pleasures of our youth! This beer is Ishtar, and we are mighty Gilgamesh — though we survive her onslaught, she shall avenge herself upon our friends. Dear Heaven, I may have had too many of these.”
So there you have it: Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale — not a bad beer, but at the same price you’re probably better off with a Newcastle Brown. Still, it’s always worth trying a limited edition beer from a reliable brewer. Pick up a bottle of this if you see it at a party.