The label has a duck that looks like a rabbit on it! HA! Or is it a rabbit that looks like a duck… I suppose that’s up for you to decide. Either way Duck-Rabbit out of Farmville, NC (yes, the town is actually called Farmville – can you say ‘Facebook lawsuit?’), offers a truly unique beer. This beer on first try sold me to seek out more from this brewery in the hopes that their other stock is equally unique! “But Alex, why is it unique?” – I hear you cry. “Don’t worry,” I exclaim, “I shall explain!” (And rhyme incidentally)
The label says “American Black Ale,” and I don’t really know what that means, so let’s move forward with the assumption that it is really a Black IPA. That being said, it’s super dark. But the color is not just dead black; it really does have this rich, deep, abyss quality to it; similar to the enjoyable appearance that a Guinness has. When you pour it into the glass the foam puts on a show for you, swirling and bubbling in a way that I’ve never seen an ale do. I wish I had many more just to pour for my friends. The foam appeared to be this rich red off of the first pour into the glass, however once I gave it time to settle it took on a much more mocha type of color. Did I mention the beer is dark? Because it is.
If you ask the Internet how it smells on their first sniff, you will find all sorts of different viewpoints from malts, to coffee, to marshmallows (not kidding: Check out This is Why I’m Drunk’s review here! ). No matter how scattered the opinions are on the specific aromas rising from glass, the general consensus is that it is a pleasant one. I am not so certain of this. At first dip of the proboscis, there is a rather sweet aroma, I may even be able to be sold on the slight references to marshmallows. However, when I took deeper whiffs, ones comparable to what you would do with an aged whiskey, I was blindsided by the unbridled fury of some over – hopped scent. I really was surprised. Luckily, the overall scent from the glass is not too overwhelming, so no matter what you think the beer will taste like, it doesn’t play too much into the process of the enjoyment of the beer…
… Which is good because the taste of this beer deserves to be the front-runner of the experience! I’ve had quite a few interesting Black IPA’s, and I’ve enjoyed many of them – but this one has something about it that is just plain unique. It’s as if Guinness had a baby with a fine IPA, and I hate to make a Guinness reference twice in one review but there are definitely some characteristics that are similar. You can’t deny how smooth this beer is. The only thing that makes it even REMOTELY sharp to drink is the fact that it has relatively fine carbonation. The beer basically drinks itself. On top of the drinkability, you really do have a great oak and coffee flavor pairing. That oak and coffee that you expect from Stouts accompanies the hoppy punch that you expect from IPA’s which makes this a great Black IPA (if indeed that is what an ABA is…).
So if you haven’t been able to figure this out, I really like this beer. Something that has the uniqueness of Guinness (I have a feeling this review may upset die-hard Guinness fans) and pairs that with extra hops: I am so on board! My only marks against are that odd aroma that I experienced and the fact that the label is a little ugly. Take those two things into account and really, you are left with a near perfect beer! I highly suggest locating your nearest craft beer provider and checking out this brew. This PA boy loves this NC beer!
4.75 Stars out 5