The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, North Carolina, specializes in well crafted dark beers. I stumbled upon their Milk Stout by accident on our recent trip to North Carolina.
After visiting Holden Beach, where my grandmother grew up in my great-grandmother's house, which was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954 (according to family legend, the air-pressure in the house was so great that, even though the house was lifted off its foundation, tossed through the air, and landed several blocks from where it once stood, when my family went to clean up the damage none of the dishes in the cabinets had broken!), we visited my grandparents in Chapel Hill. While there I'd hoped to visit the Carolina Brewery. Whenever I travel I like to sample local beers.
However - even though my uncles were in town from Ohio and Texas, respectively, and even though my grandfather likes to visit the Brewery often - I couldn't talk anyone into going with me on the only night we would be in Chapel Hill. Dejected, I wandered around our hotel to see if it had a bar, and, if so, what their beer list looked like.
I stumbled into the bar right after we put Adam to bed, and asked the lone bartender - more interested in the pre-season football game on the TV than anything else - what they had on tap.
"Well, we used to have (insert generic American light lager - I can't remember if it was Bud Light or Coors Light, or maybe Miller Light) but we just ran out."
"Damn. Oh well, I was hoping for something local, anyway."
His eyes lit up.
"Local?!? Do you like dark beers? There's a great brewery just down that road over there," he said, pointing to his left, though as we were enclosed, with no roads visible behind the interior walls of the hotel bar, I couldn't tell what he might have been pointing at. "The Duck-Rabbit, in a little town called Farmville. They make the best beer around."
Then he handed me a bottle of their Milk Stout, and a pub glass to pour it in.
It was, simply put, one of the best stouts I've ever had. Dark black, and thick, with a cream colored head. Thickly malted, but mildly sweet. It had a rich, complex flavor, but still went down smooth (and, in a world in which words like "smooth" and "refreshing" are euphemisms for "tasteless," that's really saying something). In beer form, it reminded me of everything that I loved about a dark chocolate malted milkshake growing up. But it was no child's candy beverage, but a deep, rich, robust dark ale.
I'm sure I'll visit Chapel Hill again soon, since, in addition to my grandparents living there, I am considering UNC for my PhD studies (not my first choice, but definitely on the list). When I do, I have no doubt I'll finally make it to the Carolina Brewery. But they'll have some stiff competition on their hands if they want to convince me they have the region's best beer.
Here's what the Beer Advocate community thinks about the Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout.
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