The Dark & Handsome looks like cola in the glass, but aromatically it's anything but -- the chocolate/mocha aromas are outstanding, while roasted malt and a mild anise/licorice note add great complexity. Despite the aromas, it's basically bone-dry -- the cocoa, dark chocolate and licorice flavours keep the Dark & Handsome dry and lively. It's remarkably peppy -- not nearly as chewy or heavy as a stout or porter. My fave of the bunch.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2013
Tunnel Vision . . .
"Tunnel Vision, a beer that's similar to - but better than - bigger producers' traditional bitters. Fresh and structured, simple and satisfying and naggingly moreish"
Q Magazine September 2012
Dark and Handsome . . .
"You’ve got to love Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Diminutive in stature but a giant of a man through his incredible engineering feats, it’s not just steam ships, tunnels and bridges in the Brunel legacy – there’s also a beer!
It’s the Dark & Handsome by Wiltshire’s Box Steam Brewery, named after the five foot-tall Brunel. And, good heavens, is indeed both dark and very, very handsome! Its dark, cola-like allure with deep red hue already seduced the judges as far back as the CAMRA Pig’s Ear beer festival in 2008.
It’s got a malty, smoky nose and a full-bodied, deep malty taste with a twist of blackcurrant. It really is deeply satisfying. Another, please…”
www.theguestale.com February 2012
Funnel Blower . . .
"Box Steam Funnel Blower - this complex beer bliends vanilla flavours superbly with coffee, smooth chocolate and cakey malt, for a luscious result tinged with wood, whisky flavours - one of the best I've tried."