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Home / Blogs / Get to the Pint
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Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013 - 114 days ago Get to the Pint

New year and Newcastle

Witness my personal growth via shabby beer

By Ian Cheesman
Newcastle Cabbie glass A shadow of a dark beer
Despite my long-standing reputation for drinking anything pushed in front of me, I do try to hold this blog to a more lofty set of standards. I'm here to catalog, analyze and celebrate the appreciable output of the San Diego beer scene. As a result of that, I’ve occasionally turned down requests at to review beers that were produced outside our walls.

This is hardly a sacrifice on my part. Most of these offers come for various macrobrews that don’t hold any allure for me in the first place. However, in light of the new year and ringing in a better, truer column, I considered that might be a little hypocritical of me. After all, these beers are available in San Diego. Further, it was curiosity and a lack of preconceptions that drove me headlong into enjoying craft brew in the first place.

While the focus of this blog will not sway from San Diego-sourced beers (it’s not as if it is a dwindling resource), I will occasionally sample and share my thoughts on beers that are broadly available here, as well. Unfortunately, this incredibly magnanimous gesture is about to be repaid by Heineken USA, which doesn’t bode well.

Err—I mean, it could potentially bode well, but I have no way of knowing yet. Damn, this ditching prejudices stuff is rough!

The Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale has a dark-brown body reminiscent of cola. It pours a thin eggshell head that erodes almost immediately. The aroma has a light but unmistakable note of coffee, but not much else. Unfortunately, the flavor is equally thin, with some detectable cherry and overcooked coffee in the mid-palate. It has a muddy finish, somewhere between earthy hops and Alka-Seltzer.

I know it's cliché for the beer writer to dislike a macrobrew, but, evidently, that cliché comes from somewhere. This simply isn’t satisfying in any of the ways I would yearn for in a black ale. Thankfully, this is a limited-edition brew, so the suffering won’t go on needlessly.