May 23, 2014 by Matt Michini
Is it a duck or a rabbit? You decide, says the Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, whose logo depicts the decades-old rabbit-duck illusion. Personally, I think it looks more like a rabbit than a duck. That probably says something deep about my personality or whatever. Either way, Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery makes some pretty good beer. I first tried a Duck-Rabbit beer a while ago in Washington, D.C. It was the Hoppy Bunny Black Ale, and it was delicious. This time, I decided to try the Brown Ale.
The brown ale style more or less bridges the gap between the pale ale and porter styles, with the former at the lighter end of the spectrum and the latter at the darker end. The style is popular among homebrewers because it is amenable to experimentation, with many combinations of malts and hops that yield a tasty end product. It’s a fairly varied style; English examples are typically maltier and lower in alcohol, while American versions are usually beefier and hoppier. Duck-Rabbit’s version uses seven different types of malts and is assertively hopped, according to the brewery’s website.
Duck-Rabbit, founded in 2004, is based in Farmville, N.C. The state is actually home to lots of great breweries, including Olde Mecklenburg and Fullsteam. Duck-Rabbit started as a small production brewery and currently distributes to a few states along the East Coast. The brewery bills itself (hehe) as the dark beer specialist, with other offerings including its Porter and Milk Stout.
So what’s with the name and logo? Paul Philippon, the founder, owner and brewmaster of Duck-Rabbit, was previously a philosophy professor at a university. The rabbit-duck illusion appeared in a philosophy book he liked, and he decided to name the brewery after it. And who said a doctorate in philosophy is worthless?
Anyway, on to the review. The Brown Ale pours a deep, dark amber with plentiful off-white foam stand. This is a great-looking beer. Soft chocolate and sweet malts are prominent in the fairly complex aroma. Taking a sip, I first notice the abundance of mellow roasted malt flavors and the notable lack of astringent bitterness. This beer is roasty and complex without harboring overly aggressive or bitter malt flavors, and it is certainly an easy-drinking brew, with a light (perhaps too light) body.
Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale is a light and drinkable brew, yet it also manages to exhibit some complex flavors. I can definitely see myself drinking a few of these back-to-back and enjoying each one. And, hey, if you don’t like the beer, you can always just stare at the label for a while. Cheers!