An Insider’s Guide to the (Fictional) Boutique Beers of the Rhino Room* (By Chris Knight)

*To be read in the voice of either Jeremy Clarkson or David Stratton.

Boggins Stout

A dark, meaty snack of a beer with a flavour like that of a Kelpie’s tongue (I don’t recommend French-kissing dogs, but it’s important for any reviewer to try a few breeds out first in the interests of specificity. It’s definitely Kelpie). The brew is black like a dark, dark room with all the lights turned off and also you are blindfolded, which seems redundant, but then again you’re not the expert here. I am.

Rhino’s Choice

I have tried this beer on four separate occasions and each time it has been different. First sweet, then spicy, then a hint of chestnuts and lastly an overtone of fine salted cheeses. Could it be that its elusive, shape-shifting nature is like the proverbial river in which one can never step twice? Or is it simply that Bowley, the affable barkeep, pours all the spilled beers into a bucket? One can never truly tell, and that bar is too high to truly see over the top.

Organic Plum Ale

The artwork on the label itself is an experience. Neo-cubist and Fauvist in influence, yet with a distinctive postmodern twist that says, ‘Sure, I may belong in a gallery, but I’m equally at home on this beer label.’ From a head-on view, the image suggest danger and excitement, with abstract colours clashing with lions and bears. Yet as one drinks from the bottle and looks down the neck, the image seems not to be inverted and skewed but rather to be finally upright, displaying the face of a young girl with plums for eyes. Too bad the beer tastes like mouldy perfume and rotting tomatoes.

Large Albert’s Big Ale

An unrefined and simplistic flavour, loaded with unhealthy carbohydrates and an extremely high alcohol content. At first glance this appears to be a brew for the lower classes, not for a connoisseur such as I. Yet some hidden subtleties kept bringing me back to the bottle again and again. Was it the flavour? The chunky texture, like a cold minestrone soup? The high alcohol content? Yes. It was the high alcohol content. I drink this beer every night, alone. Tastes great with a chaser of one’s own tears.

Double Summits Lager

At first everything seemed normal, but there was a distinctive aftertaste, as of a fish steeped in a coffee thermos and wrapped in plastic. I had a brief vision of a black and white floor and red curtains, although I was in the Rhino Room at the time, so it may have just been that. A short man spoke to me about chewing gum and did a dance. I was warned about owls, chemicals and smiling. I talked at length to a lady with a pet log. That was last week, so yesterday I tried the LSD-free version. Much better! A damn fine bottle of lager. Goes well with pie.

(By Chris Knight)

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