Thanks for the posts and sorry for my belated response! In the end I skipped out on the liquid wrench and took to beating out the brass rod with a hammer while having a folded towel between the hammer and the end of the brass rod. I also used vice grips on the brass rod with a towel around the rod as well. The brass rod did get marred from the vice grips but it really didn't appear to mushroom or flatten much from the hammer.
After some serious banging the brass rod finally flew out in all of its dramatic fury and landed with a loud thud on the kitchen floor. It was of course followed by a nice slurry of coffee grounds trailing behind it.