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Full transparency - this is one of my favorite wild ales, so be forewarned that I'll be gushing about it throughout the review.
Duck Duck Gooze is a blend of one, two and three-year-old blonde sours, and is released every three years by The Lost Abbey. It was first released in 2009, and has had subsequent releases in 2013, 2016, and 2019. The online sale, typically executed via a site like Eventbrite, happens around April with the actual pickup (referred to as "Duck Days") happening shortly thereafter. Bottles must be picked up in person - that means no proxies and no shipping.
This beer is crazy hard to get. For context, in 2016 roughly 5,000 bottles sold out in minutes, and due to an insane amount of web traffic, many folks never even had a chance to purchase an allocation. I tried my luck for the 2019 release, and was fortunate enough to get an allocation of 4 750 mL bottles (which was the max that year). I counted my lucky stars and planned a trip down to the brewery to enjoy the event and grab my bottles.
Not only is it one of the most sought after beers from The Lost Abbey, it's one of the most sought after wild ales in the craft beer market. If you're able to get your hands on some, great. However even if you can't, the event itself wis a blast and is worth a drive if you're in the area.
Name: Duck Duck Gooze
Brewed by: The Lost Abbey
Style: Lambic - Gueuze
Availability: Released every three years
Price: $45 per 750 mL bottle (As of the 2019 release)
Forget about beer ratings for a second, because it's not uncommon for people to hype a beer, especially one that's this hard to get a hold of. However I can confidently say this beer absolutely lives up to the hype, and I encourage anyone who is a fan of wild ales, guezes, or sours in general to seek it out.
It's impeccably well balanced, and impossible for me to drink slowly. Every time In open a bottle, I find myself in the same loop of smell > sip > immediately smell again > sip again. I down this beer way too quickly (especially for the price point), and that's because it's just so damn delicious.
This pours a tad bit hazy, with an absolutely gorgeous golden-orange color. It really is beautiful looking beer, and photos never do it justice. After you pour you'll notice a beautiful white head that sticks to the glass with a decent retention. The lacing is light and it lingers just a bit.
This beer has that funk in the best kind of way. It's a mix of earthy and leather farmhouse notes along with bright lemon and citrusy aromas. It's an amazing balance and I promise you'll keep smelling it sip after sip.
This beer is wildly well-balanced. You're hit with the tartness and floral flavors up front, but it's not overwhelming and it mellows into a slight tinge. You'll taste apricot, lemon, grapefruit, orange, and more - all melding into a complex, just-funky-enough wild ale that you'll not want to stop drinking. Every single time I have this beer I'm blown away at how sip after sip, I can never get enough.
This beer is crisp and refreshing. There's the right heft of body accompanied by the perfect level of carbonation. It's not too light, and not too heavy. It's the perfect viscosity to match the complex yet well-balanced aromas and flavors. It's hard to explain, but when you drink this beer, the mouthfeel just feels right.
Duck Duck Gooze is released every three years via an online sale which usually happens in April. I suggest following their social accounts to stay in the loop when it will go on sale, but just know that even if you're prepared, it's not easy to get your hands on. It sells out very fast (literally minutes) and it's not uncommon to keep hitting the refresh button, see it pop up, add an allocation to your cart, and then get to checkout only to see that it's sold out.
The good news is sometimes it's available on tap at the brewery in San Marcos, and recently they did a kind of "cellar sale" where they made bottles of Duck Duck Gooze and other amazing beers (I'm looking at you, Cable Car Ale) available to the public.
Last but not least, trading is always an option, but expect to cough up some great beer to get a bottle of Duck Duck Gooze.
This beer is awesome, and if you're a fan of ours and wild ales, it should be on your short list. It's hyped, but I think it's justified.
If you're close enough to go in person, I'd say seek this beer out (along with Cable Car) and see if you can attend a "Duck Day" event. Make it a trip and enjoy the atmosphere because it's a blast. If you're not close, see if you can find a good friend to go through the trouble for you, just make sure he or she is taken care of.
I am not paid by anyone to review beers, and I don’t accept free beer from breweries to review.
I want to hear from you. Are there beers you want me to try? Local or not, I’d love to hear it so let me know!