Sunday, July 12, 2009

12. The Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, which self-identifies as “the Dark Beer Specialists,” is located in Farmville, NC. I’ll be honest: I’m kind of partial to the Duck-Rabbit. It may be the label and the back story surrounding it (come on, who doesn’t love the rags-to-riches/pull-yourselves-up-by-the-bootstraps story of the academic turned brewmaster?) or it may be that I normally drink Duck-Rabbit when I’m hanging out in a cabin in the woods in North Carolina. Either way, it seems like a recipe for success. What makes Wittgenstein easier? Easy—beer and chillin'.

Duck-Rabbit Brown has a toasted malt nose with light notes of sweetness in it and a clear brown color with red highlights. The mouthfeel is smooth and mellow with slight rise from carbonation towards the finish. It starts with a toasted warm malt flavor and moves into a well balanced middle that combines a complex malt body with an abundant bitterness and a dry hop finish. Overall, an impressive and interesting take on a brown ale, even when judged by by the broader definitions allowed the American version; there are no heavy roasted overtones, no toffee or butterscotch notes, just clean clear flavor. There is a bit of creaminess in the front that develops as the beer warms and some dark raisin notes buried back inside the malt/hop middle flavor, but these mainly accentuate the overall profile in positive ways. As well, the hops become more evident in the flavor than in the bitterness as the beer concludes. Duck-Rabbbit Brown might almost be too clean tasting for a brown ale—it has a crisp hoppiness and a malt body that opts for a complex balance of flavors rather than just sweetness, even while maintaining the malt characteristics implied in brown ale category. For a brown ale, this is something that we’d actually want to drink on a regular basis, and that’s saying something, so well done. I’d call it a delicious and exemplary example of an American Brown Ale.

From the Duck-Rabbit website: “The Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale is an American brown ale brewed with loads of hops from start to finish (it’s hoppy and beautifully bitter). Amarillo hops in the boil provide a spicy citrusy bitterness. Saaz dry hops in the fermentor provide a refined flowery aroma. These hops are supported by a grain bill of seven varieties of malt. Oh yeah!”


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