I have on my desk a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. I am not a huge Broon fan, but it certainly has a place in British beer history. But this bottle is special, which is why it is on my desk (I am not usually found with beer on my desk at work, and this one is not open. I nick out for the afternoon pints…)

This bottle is special because it has a distinctively black and white trade dress and in the blue star there is the distinctively unpleasant likeness of Alan Shearer. Yes, this is a ten year Shearer testimonial commemorative bottle. Apparently it is quite hard to get hold of in Newcastle, though one suggests surprisingly easy to get in Sunderland or Middlesbrough. Indeed one suggests it might not be a smart idea to put the ugly face of a footballer who is almost universally reviled outside of Newcastle (and possible not even that well loved in Newcastle).

Of course if it tastes of bitter ashes, all would be forgiven.