The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery - Hoppy Bunny ABA
- ABV: 7.3%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Serving Temperature: 48-55º F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip or Snifter
- Malts: Several roast malts
- Hops: New Zealand Motueka, varied American aromatic hops
Black IPA, India Black Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale, American Black Ale – this is a style that goes by many names (Duck-Rabbit is going with American Black Ale, which we also prefer). Hoppy Bunny presents a very dark, opaque, brown-black hue topped by a head of medium-brown foam. In the aroma, we certainly get that interplay between dark malts and brighter hop notes that sets this style apart. The malts come through with a lot less of an acrid impression than some other interpretations of ABA, helped by the brewery’s use of multiple de-husked roast malts to limit harsh, burnt notes in the aroma and flavor. Look for a creamy impression on the nose, with notes of coffee, milk chocolate, and cocoa powder. Hops add hints of pine and citrus zest. On the palate, we picked up more malt roastiness than in the aroma, with considerable black coffee character. There’s a deep-down caramel note here, too, along with touches of baking chocolate. Look for the hops to contribute firm bitterness along with their herbaceous notes, including a wisp of mint, in addition to citrus zest. For pairings, aged and blue cheeses should match nicely, along with grilled or barbecued meats and vegetables. A charbroiled burger with aged cheddar sounds good to us, topped with a smoky BBQ sauce. Or, for something on the sweeter side, chocolate desserts with caramel also will complement Hoppy Bunny well. Cheers!
Founded in 2004, the Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, NC, is the brainchild of founder Paul Philippon, who had been a passionate homebrewer since 1987. Before becoming a professional brewer, he taught philosophy at the university level. One of his favorite philosophy texts, Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein, contains a Gestalt-style image referred to as the Duck-Rabbit diagram. Depending on the viewer's perspective, the diagram looks like, you guessed it, a duck or a rabbit. Now, we're not really sure what it means if you see a duck or if you see a rabbit, but we do know that if you're looking at one of Paul's Duck-Rabbit beers, you're in luck—before you is a guaranteed small-batch-brewed, extremely tasty beer. It’s been several years since we last featured Duck-Rabbit in the club, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with them again this month.
We've surmised the meaning behind the Duck-Rabbit duality is essentially that ‘what one sees depends on your state of mind.’ This idea can be applied to one of the brewery's unique features: they're one of very few microbreweries to specialize in brewing “dark” beers. While not all of the beers that they brew on their modest 20-barrel system are super dark (they brew amber ale and barelywine, for instance), many are darker styles like stout, porter, brown ale, etc. The brewery feels all these deeper-hued styles are underrepresented in the American beer market, and they point out that there are a wide variety of flavor profiles to be explored among them. According to the brewery, “what you get in a Duck-Rabbit beer is determined by enthusiasm for delicious beer, not a focus group or a bean-counter!,” and it’s certainly a theme we appreciate. For more information about the brewery and their taproom, call 252-753-7745 or check out their web site at www.duckrabbitbrewery.com.
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