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The Beer Circle » Beer, Belgian Pale Ale, Catoctin Creek Pear, Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, DC Brau Brewing Co., Oatmeal Stout, Porter » DC Brau Brewing Company Barrel Aged Rarities

DC Brau Brewing Company Barrel Aged Rarities

As part of their inaugural Barrel Aged Beauties event last Wednesday Churchkey in DC had a number of DC Brau Brewing Company’s offerings aged in various barrels graciously provided by Catoctin Creek from just up north in Loudon County. I’ve only ever had a few beers from the District’s first packaging brewery since 1956, but was excited to see how well their beers would hold up in barrels from a local distillery. It boiled down to two beers aged in Rye Whiskey barrels (Penn Quarter Porter and Hell’s Bottom) and another in Pear Brandy barrels (The Citizen).

First up is The Citizen, a Belgian-style Pale Ale that is part of DC Brau’s flagship offerings and spent six months in the oak barrels.

The Citizen Pear Brandy Barrel Aged
The beer comes out a semi-hazy yellow to orange color. Only a slight ring of bubbly white head rests on top of the beer that doesn't hang around for very long.
The sweet brandy and pear really dominate the aroma, but the sweet Belgian yeasts stick around nicely. The combination makes for a candy-like sweet aroma that I hope isn't over the top on the taste.
The balance on the taste is both well appreciated and delicious. The subtle balance of sugar, Belgian yeasts, and pears from the barrel aging really work. I was admittedly hesitant to get this, but I'm really glad I did. No lingering off-flavors or invasive oakiness, just a sweet refreshing flavor.
This version of The Citizen has a lower than average carbonation and a medium body. I thought it was very drinkable, but that may have something to do with how much I liked the taste. Luckily, the sweetness wasn't an issue at all.
This beer cost $5 for the 4oz glass, which is pretty average for Churchkey. I would definitely pay that price again, but next time I'd buy the full glass.
Overall this beer was outstanding and the surprise of the evening.

Beer Stats
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Serving: On-Tap
Size: 4oz
ABV: 7.00%
BA Score: N/A (3 Reviews)
RB Score: N/A (3 Reviews)

Second up is Penn Quarter Porter, which was originally a limited release robust porter that spent six months in oak barrels. The beer gains its name from the eastern end of the District’s downtown.

Penn Quarter Porter Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged
This porter rests very black in the glass and doesn't really have much head. Deep and dark, it's on the average end of the porter spectrum.
The aroma explodes out of the glass with hints of dark chocolate, roast, rye, some booze and oak. The balance here is outstanding and leads me to believe this is going to be a really robust porter that aged nicely with the whiskey.
The taste is surprisingly fruity. Dark fruits come out on the palate right up front and I can't really place them. Chocolate in the middle, with the rye resting on the back of the palate. Overall, however, the taste is a little bland, which I'm sure you can understand disappointed me.
Medium body with a pretty average carbonation. The beer sure does go down easy, I just wish it tasted a bit better
This set me back $4.50 for the 4oz glass, which accurately represented the drop off in taste. Perhaps the slight drop in price also has to do with how expensive the Rye Whiskey barrel was compared to the Pear Brandy one The Citizen was aged in.
It wasn't the best BA porter, but it surely wasn't the worst. I enjoyed the aroma a lot and the taste has some surprises, but it didn't quite pull through in the end. On to the next barrel aged DC Brau barrel aged beauty.

Beer Stats
Style: Porter
Serving: On-Tap
Size: 4oz
ABV: 5.50%
BA Score: N/A (7 Reviews)
RB Score: N/A (8 Reviews)

Finally we’ve reached Hell’s Bottom, which spent five months in oak barrels and represents one of DC’s more notorious neighborhoods.

Hell’s Bottom Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged
This beer's appearance has some character to it. Slightly see through black to brown color with a light brown head. The retention is better than the others, but is still a bit underwhelming.
The aroma is faint, but does have a nice amount of vanilla with some slight oak. Slightly medicinal and fruity. Not a great initial impression, sadly.
The taste is really roasty, and bit oaky, with some slight rye, but overall is sort of bland. It has a nice dry finish that is amplified by the rye, but the low ABV on this has sort of hurt the flavor I think. I'm not really getting a lot of the great flavors that I expected.
Lighter than average body that I'm thinking just didn't hold up well in the barrels. Not as much carbonation as I would have liked either. It's silky smooth on the palate, I just didn't like much else.
This beer went back to the $5 price range, which was way too much for how good the beer was.
The porter was better, the pear brandy was the best. I'm glad I finally got more exposure to this DC brewery and can't wait to see what they brew in the future!

Beer Stats
Style: Porter
Serving: On-Tap
Size: 4oz
ABV: 5.50%
BA Score: N/A (1 Review)
RB Score: N/A (4 Reviews)

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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