Playing to your strengths is generally good advice. It lets you play the game or do the work with the greatest chance of success. During a recent visit to Moo-Duck Brewery in Elizabethtown, PA that concept of “playing to one’s strengths” came to mind.
I had ordered a glass of Moo-Duck’s 291 Experimental IPA. This slightly hazy, light bodied, 5.8% IPA was unusual. It had a bit of citrus in the nose along with sweet smelling flowers. I was expecting it to be a mosaic hopped beer as I took my first sip but this was herbal and earthy. While it had floral notes, as the beer warmed up in the glass the floral quelled and herbal notes took complete control by adding a slight spiciness to the front and a long finish of faint eucalyptus and mild mint. I liked it.
The name of this beer is in reference to the hops that give it the distinct flavors, Experimental Hop 291, or LORAL as it has been branded. Moo-Duck’s newest small batch IPA beautifully showcases this relatively new hop variety.
What brewer Mike Brubaker has done here is play to his strengths. I have said it before when describing Moo-Duck and it is just as true today: Moo Duck’s beers are best when they are playing with earthy, flowery, and herbal flavors; the flavors of the outdoors.
291 Experimental IPA does just that.
You would be hard pressed to find a guy more down to Earth than Mike or his wife Kristen. So it makes sense that their beers should also reflect this. 291 Experimental IPA plays to their strengths and in the little I know them, their personalities. Easy drinking but earthy, it is a unique IPA that nicely showcases a new hop profile you probably have yet to meet.
Moo-Duck currently has The Remedy on tap as well. If you are looking for an herbal and flowery beer, brewed locally, you will be unlikely to find one more daring or interesting one. This wheat beer is brewed with local honey and an insane amount of Chamomile.
There are times where certain styles just work for a brewery. A great example of this is Victory Brewing Co. and pilsner. It a style of beer they work with well. They make many other fine beers but if its a pilsner, you can take it to the bank that it will be a world beater.
I have dropped some hints to it on Twitter, but tomorrow night I am recording Ep. 4 of The Operation Shutdown Podcast… and I really think this one will be gangbusters. Expect it to post sometime over the weekend. If I am lucky, it will be done by Friday night.