September 3, 2022 – Lonsdale, AR
You all know my preference for nano-breweries. While staying in Hot Springs, AR I thought I had found one that checked all the boxes. It was small, check. It was out in the middle of nowhere, check. It had a small, but interesting, variety of beers, check. It looked like the perfect example of what I seek.
The StudDuck brewery is about 10 miles outside of Hot Springs, AR. As we drove there on a Saturday afternoon, the day was almost perfect. Sunny, a little but not unbearably so, and we were with new friends, Johnny and Tina Roush. As we neared the brewery the last turn off the paved road took us down a single lane tree covered gravel road. This fit the dream, the image I had of a small brewer tending his hobby out of his spare room or garage.
Upon arriving at the parking lot there were four other cars. OK, this is a good sign. It means other beer lovers are here so it can’t be too bad.
The premises consisted of three 40 foot metal shipping containers arranged in a u-shape.. They housed the brewing equipment, a seating area, storage and a big opening cut in one of them to create a stage for visiting bands.
StudDuck normally offers 7 selections. They were out of two of them. Does this mean they were so good they couldn’t brew them fast enough? Thus encouraged, we ordered a flight of four that had interesting descriptions. There was a Hefe, one with 3 spices, a nut brown ale, and another I don’t remember. As it turns out the owners were excellent wordsmiths. The descriptions they created for each beer almost made your mouth water.But there wasn’t even one beer I would order again.
So my hopes of finding the perfect nano-brewery in the woods were shattered. Instead I got beer that tasted slightly off, even a little musty, with definite leanings towards being of the sour family that none of our group liked.
But I have to applaud the brewer and his wife. They are pursuing their dream. We wish them well and hope they find customers who appreciate what they’ve brewed. They welcomed us with open arms, told great stories and had lots of friendly dogs (always a plus). They just didn’t have any beer I liked. But the worst part was that I drug EJ and our friends along for this little misadventure. My apologies.
Obligatory cat picture follows.