Dynamite Valley Brewing Co Brian (500ml bottle, 5.0% ABV, vegan)
Labelling beer bottles can be one of two things: a tedious faff if you do it by hand, or an expensive enterprise if you have the machinery to automate it.
Dynamite Valley, a new brewery situated near Falmouth, have found a way to avoid both. They take the unusual step of packaging their beer in plain bottles, but wrapping them in a sheet of paper. Taking it off is a bit like unfurling a scroll, revealing additional information about the brewery and a voucher for a half-price pint if you ever find yourself at their beer cafe on a Saturday afternoon. There’s also a recommended biscuit pairing. None of that ‘ideal with grilled aubergines on a bed of couscous’ here. Instead it recommends a Garibaldi. Should you dunk? Probably not.
Brian is an amber beer, which could so easily mean an anonymous, tasteless, brown-ish bitter of a kind too common in Britain. It’s anything but.
An aroma of spice and chocolate, reminiscent of some kind of posh truffle, rises from the surface. The taste is malt-forward, with chocolate, toasted bread, nuts and caramel. The hops provide a beautiful balancing bitterness, resulting in a truly harmonious beer. The finish is dry and spicy and very long.
Brian is named for a late friend who supported the creation of the brewery, but never got to taste the finished beers. What a fine tribute it is.
Written by Richard Salsbury