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The Beer Circle » Beer, Beer Festival, Catoctin Creek Peach, DC Brau Brewing Co., Saison, Stillwater Artisanal Ales » Strong Ales on Saturday Afternoon: Rustico’s Novemberfest

Strong Ales on Saturday Afternoon: Rustico’s Novemberfest

Rustico raised funds to help out those still struggling from Hurricane SandyOktoberfests are so last month. On Saturday, November 11th, Rustico put on a show down in Alexandria, Virginia, hosting their second annual Novemberfest in the back parking lot. “It’s sorta like Oktoberfest, but way Novemberier,” the free mug states. Novemberfest’s planners apparently shared my ideas on improving Snallygaster (as both festivals were put on by bars owned by the same group) and gave everyone in attendance a mug and ten tickets for the $15 price of admission. I thought is was an absolute steal and showed up early to make sure I got the three beers I had my eyes set on.

I really wish drinking stouts had that effect on me…

After Hurricane Sandy, Rustico decided to step up and help where they could. Which, in this case, meant giving everyone at Novemberfest a free beer and raising funds for the cause. Because I was driving (and was about to drink some pretty hefty beers), I gave my free beer to a couple who was really praising how good their free beer was and dropped off a donation on my way out.

Now on to the beers. This event was billed as having “strong” ales and they delivered. I started with a one-two bourbon barrel aged pair from Bells: Batch 9,000 and Cherry Stout. Having never come across the Batch 9,000, barrel aged or not, and having enjoyed the Cherry Stout, I burned through my tickets quickly and hunkered down at a table to enjoy my prizes. I was most impressed by the bourbon barrel aged Batch 9,000, which was so wonderfully balanced between the bourbon, booze, chocolate and roast. The bourbon barrel aged Cherry Stout was a little underwhelming because I thought the cherries had become too hidden.

Batch 9000 is in the mug, nothing like two imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels to start the day off right I always say.

The name of the beer I was most excited about, and want to feature, is a mouthful: DC Brau and Stillwater Artisanal Ales Collaboration Middle Name: Danger aged in Catoctin Creek Peach Brandy Barrels. Let’s break that down, DC Brau and Stillwater brewed up a saison (dubbed Middle Name: Danger) and then got some of Catoctin Creek’s Peach Brandy barrels and paired the two up. Bob has done a great post about DC and the greater Washington area using Catoctin Creek’s barrels to age their beers in. I can say for certain that I had never heard of a beer aged in Peach Brandy barrels before, so I really couldn’t pass this one up.

Middle Name: Danger aged in Peach Brandy Barrels
The beer rests in my Novemberfest mug a really hazy golden brown color that hints towards yellow at the edges. The white head builds up quickly and recedes relatively fast, leaving only a thin cap atop the brew and leaving spotty lacing.
The aroma is not as boozy as I expected, and is actually much more saison than brandy. Spicy, with some barnyard funk-like aromas with the peach. Amazingly I'm only getting the fruit and not the brandy. Obvious that a lot of care was put into the delicate aging of this beer.
The peach is much more prevalent on the taste, but still the booze is not noted. The taste is dominated by fruit, spice, and esters with a fruit finish. While I'm impressed by the barrel aging, the taste irks me for some reason. It doesn't leave the best of aftertastes and the peach just isn't doing it for me. Someone else might appreciate it better, but it's just not striking a chord with my palate.
This has a thin body with a normal level of carbonation. I don't like the taste, which in turn hurts its drinkability. It's the aftertaste that gets me, I can't quite place it but I don't like it.
Middle Name Danger only cost six tickets for a taster at Novemberfest, which was right in line with most of the other beers. I thought it was priced appropriately for all the work that went into making it.
This was a great attempt by two great breweries (and one that is especially good at saisons), I just didn't like it. If you like peach and saisons, I'd absolutely recommend you give it a shot! I'm still glad I gave it a shot.

Beer Stats
Style: Peach Brandy Barrel-Aged Saison
Serving: On-tap
Size: 6oz
ABV: 7.20%
BA Score: N/A (1 Review)
RB Score: N/A (1 Review)

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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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