The Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter is a complete and utter disappointment from an otherwise trustworthy and reliable Starr Hill. If you must know more, read on.
For starters, there’s very little nose to the beer. A slight hint of spice, no hint of pumpkin, and little or no smell of beer. Being a porter, I’d have some expectation of smelling the toasted grain or a hint of oats. Here, nothing.
The only high note; when aggressively poured into a glass, the rich color of the porter filled the glass and did not let any noticeable light through it, and a rich tan head formed along the top.
Going down, the beer is smooth and easy to drink, but just like the smell, the flavor is a let-down. The smell directly translates into taste. There’s only a slight taste of pumpkin spice. I can’t exactly pin if it’s a clove or nutmeg, so I’ll just call it pumpkin spice. There is no residual taste of the orange gourd and the beer itself is pretty tame.
In short, if seasonal pumpkin microbrew is what you’re looking for, there are probably better choices out there. One that I’ve recently enjoyed is the Ichabod Crandall from Devil’s Backbone Brewery.
The Duck Rabbit is a small craft brewery in Farmville, NC, which is in eastern North Carolina, about an hour drive east from Raleigh.
The Milk Stout from The Duck Rabbit definitely uses a heavily roasted grain. The dominate taste is a rich and distinct roasted flavor, but its not at all burned or scorched tasting. Meanwhile, the mouth feel is smooth and light. These beers slide right down. This is one of those stouts that will surprise those who say they don’t like dark beers.
Interestingly, there is a light syrupy sweetness to the beer. I’m guessing this is due to the lactose (milk sugar) that’s introduced during the brewing process.
The Milk Stout pours easily and is not overly carbonated. But, still, there’s plenty of carbonation to please the tongue. When poured steadily into my glass, a very small and lightly colored head developed. This head almost completely disappeared within 60 seconds.
I enjoyed my first Milk Stout with a bowl of slightly overly-salted popcorn, which I thought was a pretty nice complement to the dark stout. I picked up The Duck Rabbit at my local grocery store (in Roanoke, VA), and at $8.99 per sixer, I’ll probably pick up one of these again.