Beer Review 0047: Duck-Rabbit Märzen

From the “Dark Beer Specialists” comes this traditional Märzen beer, a lager style with origins that date back to the 16th century.

Duck-Rabbit is a brewery local to this website, based in Farmville, North Carolina. They’re most known for their Milk Stout, which I have reviewed here, but the beer we’re looking at today is a seasonal Oktoberfest beer. Duck-Rabbit began brewing in 2004 and only distributes on the east coast, which will make this beer hard to find for most.

And speaking of hard to find, good luck finding any information about their Märzen — it looks as if Duck-Rabbit hasn’t updated their website since around 2006. So, in lieu of any real information about this drink other than the style, here’s some general information about Märzen beer:

Märzen is German for “March,” which was the month most lager beers were brewed before refrigeration came around. After the beer was made, it was stored for the summer in caves or stone cellars and refrigerated by large blocks of ice obtained from bodies of water during the previous winter. Thus, the beer was called a “lager,” because lager means, essentially, “in storage.”

In order to last through the spring and summer months, the beer is brewed at a higher gravity and features more alcohol than usually found in other beers. Since no information is available about the Duck-Rabbit Märzen (the ABV, or alcohol by volume, is not listed on the label) all we can tell you is that most Oktoberfest beers come in anywhere from 5-7% ABV. General notes on the style are medium to full body, dominant malty flavor with some hops, and a dark brown/copper color.

Time to put Duck-Rabbit Märzen to the fest test.

The first think you’ll notice about appearance is the Duck-Rabbit on the bottle is wearing a fedora, complete with feather in cap. A nice touch! The pour produced a disappointingly small head that quickly faded away, but it left a gorgeous copper-colored drink, cloudy in body but absent of particles or sediment. There was very little to mostly no lacing to report, but we’re all about the color here; it’s outstanding.

The aromatics are pungent, kicking right off with something unexpected: fruity hops that hit a passionfruit note. It is vibrant and balanced with a malt core of toasty and nutty caramel, with light hints of grain and an earthy yeast. The complexity here is minimal but the smell of this Märzen just can’t be beat. A perfect score in aromatics.

As for the taste: immediate to the tongue is the malt, toasty caramel which leads to just a hint of those fruity malts. The finish starts sweet and develops into a roasted powerhouse with flashes of coffee and chocolate. The mouthfeel is creamy and foamy and features a nice prick on the tongue by the carbonation; a nice pep that rounds out just an excellent tasting drink.

We have a winner here, folks. The sad part is most people who read this probably can’t get it, but if you can find this beer (and it was even difficult for me to find; I could only purchase single bottles) pick it up post haste. Duck-Rabbit has hit a home run with their take on Märzen. Just a great beer sure to please most people.

Duck-Rabbit Märzen, 92 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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