If you read my Brown Knowser blog post of my favourite beers of 2012, this will not be news to you.
Last summer, when I was in Washington, D.C., I visited a Whole Foods store and discovered a wonderful beer section that had shelves and shelves of local craft beer, beer that I had never seen before. I stocked up on some of Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA and some other brews that I had never seen before, like Double D Double IPA and Double Naked Fish Imperial Chocolate Raspberry Stout.
I also picked up a six-pack of another beer that caught my eye with its label and name: The Duck-Rabbit.
The beer was a milk stout, which I had never tried before. In a nutshell, it's a stout that has had lactose added to it to give the beer a creamier taste. Adding whole milk to a stout or porter was actually a common practice in the 1800s, but my (uneducated) guess is that with strict international laws on pasteurization, adding whole milk these days is a no-no.
When I first tried The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout, back in the fall, I loved it. I shared it with some friends but I really savoured it when I was relaxing at home. In my 2012 list of favourite beers, I said that I thought Milk Stout may very well be my favourite beer of all time.
When I ran out, I was heart-broken, feeling like some lover had left me.
Last week, my friend, Chris, returned from the U.S. with a few beers that he collected for me, including more Duck-Rabbit. I figured that I should give this stout a proper review, so here goes.
Milk Stout (5.7% ABV)Appearance: deep mahogany with red highlights, almost like root beer but without the big bubbles; a taupe, foamy head gradually dissipates to a thin but dense blanket over the beer. (BTW: I served this stout in my favourite glass, which is slightly skewed, like me.)
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Farmville, NC, U.S.A.
Beer O'Clock rating: 5
Nose: dark chocolate, cedar, and a rich espresso.
Palate: chocolate milk and coffee coat the mouth and culminate in a short, dry finish.
Overall impression: this stout seriously tastes like I'm drinking a chocolate-chip cookie, washed down with a dark-roasted coffee. It is creamy but not sweet. It coats the tongue but is not cloying. It is rich without overpowering.
This is what a stout should be. This tasting has reaffirmed my belief that Duck-Rabbit is my favourite stout. Ever.
Sadly, I'm out again. Of the four bottles that Chris gave me, I gave two to friends, I enjoyed one on Saturday night, and I had my last bottle yesterday for this review.
My hope is that this North-Carolina brewery ships its brew as far north as New York City, where I'll be in a few weeks. If so, I'm stocking up.
But I don't know if I'll be as generous in sharing it out again.