Fuzzy Baby Ducks
1 draught pint & Growler, 6.2% ABV
At Prime 16 & the brewery, New Haven/Hamden
[2015 Update: This page is kind of funny now, well over two years since I wrote it. Now this beer has become almost mythical and I have no idea why. Matt and Rob have no idea why. YOU have no idea why. It’s just one of those things… Psst, hey! Guess what? Now in 2015 there are other great Connecticut breweries brewing all-Citra ales. Stop standing in line for 3 hours in Woodbridge for FBD. Also, FBD is now on tap all over the place. You whale chasers are nuts.]
I was just sitting here wondering how to start this page and the first thought I had was, “Perhaps this is the most talked about rare NEBCO beer…”
But then I stopped myself because I realized how stupid that sounds. There are like 10 NEBCO beers that are rare and highly sought-after. It’s getting a bit out of control, actually. With the craft beer boom, especially here in Connecticut, NEBCO is finally getting their due – as one of the best craft brewers on the planet.
And as one of the best, they know they can brew up a series of single-hop gems once or twice a year and get beer geeks to drive from far and wide just for a taste.
For my part, I’d heard about FBD after its debut at an event down at Eli Cannons in 2011 and the beer circles I run in have been buzzing about it ever since. As far as the name is concerned, the citra hops make a smooth and almost creamy, sweetish-yet-bitter beer that I’m sure drove someone at NEBCO to say, “Damn, this is as smooth as a fuzzy baby duck. For my part, I can provide you a cute picture of my son holding fuzzy baby ducks.
FBD is almost impossible to nail down, despite its simplicity on the surface. It’s high IBU and hops out the duck’s butt hit you from first smell to the last swallow. Definite citrus, some pine… I love citra hops.
This isn’t New England Brewing talking, this is some guy on facebook talking about FBD, but whatever:
“They were only able to brew half a batch because of the small amount of Citra they got their hands on. Citra is extremely hard for a brewery nebco’s size to stake a claim in. I guess it only yielded 30 kegs. They’re supposed to be able to get enough Citra in the future to brew 6 full batches. We just have to be patient is all.”
So yeah, this is a 100% Citra hops beer. Their first batch of this year, in January, was a failure (according to their standards) so it was “trashed.” (And by “trashed,” they mean given to those who work there to “choke” down. You darn well know it was still 100 times better than an average IPA.) So this year’s output was even smaller than anticipated.
I had my first pint of it at the Prime 16 NEBCO tap takeover in January and it was everything I had hopped it would be – get it? “hopped it would be?” Oh man. That kills at tap takeovers. Oh, what? You don’t know what a “tap takeover is?” And you’re reading this page? Let me guess… You are only here for Damian holding fuzzy baby ducks? That’s okay. A tap takeover is when a bar, which usually already features craft beer, allows for one brewery to “takeover” every tap for an evening. In this case, New Haven’s Prime 16 gave their bar over to NEBCO from 11:30 AM (!) to close. There was a “release” schedule for the rarities and casks. It was a wonderful day.
Floral, citrus, slight pine, hopped out the ying yang – delicious. As with all of the NEBCO single-hop beers, it was right on the cusp of too much… but not over it.
Is a “cusp” a tangible thing?
I don’t know, but a few days after the tap takeover event, the CTMQ family decided to go to the Ansonia Nature Center which, believe it or not, required driving right by NEBCO world headquarters. Amazing how that worked out. They had a few barrels of FBD left and were allowing patrons to purchase a maximum of 2 growlers each. Oh snap, I happened to remember a growler! I went inside to find more people than I’ve ever seen at the brewery (about 25), with most of them only there for the Fuzzy goodness. Wow.
I got my unbelievably cheap fill ($10) and hit the road again. Hoang pretended to joke, “Where’s my cup?” but I could tell she was serious.
I’m rambling. Listen, next time NEBCO brews up a batch of FBD – IF you like heavily citrusy hopped IPA’s – make the freaking effort to get this stuff. It’s one of a kind.
Overall Rating: A+
Rating vs. Similar style: A+