Several days ago, I found myself at a few art receptions downtown in SoHo. As mentioned in my previous opinion (for Blue Moon Belgium Ale) [FN 1] I visited the Visual Arts Gallery, and it was also here that I picked up a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale for the road. When I left the gallery, I noticed Tony Shafrazi, a few doors nearby, also held a reception, and it seemed like such a huge affair with so many people attending that people were spilling out onto the street. No wonder, the reception was for David LaChapelle. His glamorous, vividly colored fashion photos mixes sex, and surrealism, with results that are often quite humorous, and sometimes a little shocking. His work can be found in many fashion magazines, not to mention ad campaigns [FN 2]. It was indeed all very interesting.
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2) A sample of LaChapelle’s work can be found at http://www.staleywise.com/collection/lachapelle/lachapelle.html
After I visited, and left the gallery, I just happened to stumble upon a nice 17-inch monitor sitting in the trash. Great! I could use a 17-inch monitor. I just hoped it worked. Unfortunately, I never got it home. My plan was to go home, drop off the beer (I was still holding), get a cart, come back and retrieve the damn thing, but when I did come back, the monitor was long gone; I felt cheated, and it was the Newcastle Brown I had to blame, it mocked me with its unremarkable flavor, and bold boringness as I sat here reviewing it, “You choose me over a monitor, sucker” (Ok, it didn’t mock me, but I should have done what others would have done, take the monitor, leave the beer for the bums.)
Newcastle Brown can easily be mistaken for a bottle of soda, the clear glass bottle that’s shaped like a soda pop, the deep caramel brown color of the fizzy liquid inside. The oval yellow label with the big blue star says, “Serve Cool”, but it probably was a typo because it should have read, “Drink Me.”
The ale is mildly carbonated, like an open bottle of cola that has sat around for some time. It pours a little foamy, but the head disappears quickly leaving a brown flat liquid not unlike flat coca-cola. Served cool, the flavor of Newcastle Brown is quite unremarkable. That is to say, there is nothing terribly complex about this beer at all, just good drinkable beer. There is slight touch of malt flavor, and a pleasant bitterness after each swallow. The aroma was unremarkable as well. If you let the beer warm up slightly, you might start to notice some banana flavor (amyl acetate). But do not let it get too warm, otherwise the beer becomes sour tasting, and that is no good at all.
Newcastle Brown Ale is a filtered, and pasteurized product, and has an alcohol content of 4.7% v/v. Scottish & Newcastle brewery brews this beer, and they also make Beamish Irish Stout, McEwan’s India Pale Ale, Theakston’s Old Peculier, McEwan’s Scotch Ale, and John Courage Amber Lager. Additional information can be found at their website, http://www.newcastlebrown.com
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