Darktober 4: Duck-Rabbit Porter

Brewer: The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Location: Farmville, North Carolina
Type: American Porter
ABV: 5.7%

Zipping down the I-95 corridor a little ways from our last beer stop, we find ourselves in the quaint (read: so-small-you-might-miss-it) town of Farmville, North Carolina, home of The Duck-Rabbit, a microbrewery that’s been working its dark magic since 2004.

It’s an interesting little factoid about why the name and why the optical illusion for the logo. Prior to becoming a professional brewer, founder Paul Philippon was a philosophy professor. The philosophical nature of a similar duck-rabbit diagram from a favorite text continued to speak to him, even after he left that world. And so he decided to use the concept of the perspective of The Duck-Rabbit as a way to link his former and new lives.

Beyond the philosophical bent of the question, however: Why Duck-Rabbit? Because they’re “The Dark Beer Specialist,” of course. At least according to their label. Indeed, the lightest of their regularly produced beers is an amber ale. Beyond that, it’s all brown ales, porters, and stouts.

Definitely my kind of brewery.

I’ve previously had their milk stout in a bottle, and I had a chaser of their porter on tap with a beer flight I did at a North Carolina brewpub. I remember this porter was one of the standouts of that flight, so when I found a bottle of it this far north, I decided to give it a better opportunity to impress me.

The initial pour reminded me far less of a beer and more of a cola: swiftly forming head with a five-second soda pop fizzle that disappeared before I could even carry the glass and bottle over for their close-up. This is an incredibly carbonated beer, more so than I was expecting. Gives it a lightweight, burbling mouth feel and leaves you (or me, at least) feeling a little…well, let’s just say I could have given Barney on The Simpsons a run for his money after drinking this beer.

This porter carries with it the delightful coffee undercurrent I love about dark brews, plus there’s a scent of subtle sweetness each time you raise the glass for a drink.

The taste, itself, however, hits you in a way reminiscent of passing your tongue over the contacts of a nine-volt battery: electric jolt with a jarring metallic aftertaste. It’s not a terrible sensation, but it’s definitely much different from the fresh, mellow beer I had on tap the first time I tried this one.

I don’t think I’ve ever found a beer that tasted better from the bottle than from the tap (although I’ve had a a nice bottle-aged brew or two that could definitely put up a solid fight for the title), but I have definitely found beers that simply do not bottle well at all. This might be one of them. That’s fine with me though: Just means it will be one of those rare treats for when I’m lucky enough to find it on tap. Emphasis on rare, indeed, since Duck-Rabbit is only distributed in North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, Georgia, parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania (why they skipped Maryland in this sweep is a mystery to me…must have something to do with our lame state liquor laws…)