11/12/21: Rusty Rail Brewing Company's Waffle Sauce

8:47 AM

It's time, at last, for the first true breakfast beer post of the month. Hey, I made it nearly two weeks before ripping the seal off of that one, which has to count for something, right?

Today's offering comes to us from Rusty Rail. I've only had a single beer from them before and it impressed the hell out of me. This means that I have pretty damn high expectations for what I have on hand today: Waffle Sauce. If it holds up to those expectations, good news! I have a pint of it to drink. If it's bad, well, I'll still finish the pint.

Hailing from Mifflinburg, PA, Rusty Rail began its story back in 2013, with a single batch of beer brewed in a parking lot. The folks behind the name are a small town brewery at heart: each employee is the face of the brewery and they each do all they can to bring delicious, approachable beer to Mifflinburg and the rest of their distribution footprint.

Waffle Sauce is an 8% ABV Maple Pecan Imperial Brown Ale--the first imperial brown I've encountered. The label on my can doesn't add any additional info to the page linked at the beginning of the last sentence, but it does have the killer waffle art.

I'm not finding much maple on the ale's nose--just classic, nut brown aromatics. Malty, with a slight roastiness and a touch of pecan. If I'm really digging, I think I find some maple lurking way in down in the bouquet here, buried under layers of brown ale goodness, but I could just be imagining it. I'm also not really picking up on any imperial-level booziness here, either. 

Against my better judgement (because of her apparent aversion to maple beers), I let Purrl weigh in. She gave my can seven whiffs, so it's cat-approved. I bet she only likes it because the maple's pretty hidden.

There's a heaping serving of pecan in my first swig of Waffle Sauce, which follows immediately behind the wash of brown ale flavor (toasty and caramely maltiness). This gives way to a bit of boozy warmth that carries my swig into its finish, where the maple lingers, its warm sweetness melding perfectly with the imperial booze and a bit of hop bite (which serves primarily to ground the ale). My second swig's a perfect mirror of the first, as is the third and on down the line.

The ale has a light body and a creaminess that's absolutely befitting a maple syrup-insipired beer. It's not syrupy, but it's as close as an imperial brown is likely to get.

When Michelle and I were still in school, I spent January mornings during our winter break (OU represent) on our couch with a book. I'd wake up early (for a college kid, like seven o'clock), brew some tea, and grab the Tolkien book I was working through before settling down on the couch, under a blanket to keep warm.

I mainly read, sure, but I'd always spend part of those mornings watching the snow fall outside of our living room window, accumulating on it and the fence just beyond the yard (we were on the building's second floor)--that single winter in Athens was particularly cold and snowy. The tea was fine enough for me, a perfect pairing to the wanderings of Túrin or the meeting of Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf in Bree. But I'd be lying if I told you that Waffle Sauce wouldn't have been a better match.

Remember those expectations I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, the good news is that I have a pint of Rusty Rail's Waffle Sauce. This is a beer that's wholly deserving of my second 9.5/10 this month--the maple is here, and incredibly noticeable, but not at the expense of the beer. The label art of the ale perfectly suits what Rusty Rail's accomplished. If you see this beer, you need to buy it and drink it; it's an excellent brew.

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