Location: Roseland & Lexington, VA
Type: Production brewery/brewpub
Available in DC Market: VA only (for now)
What you need to know: SAVOR alum Devils Backbone (yes, it seems it’s devils plural, not devil’s possessive) is one of the most highly decorated breweries in the DC/MD/VA area, but many District residents have yet to taste their beers: it’s only been a few months since they’ve expanded, both in production and distribution, to the point that their beers make it up to NoVa. All of their stuff is top notch, as evidenced by DB’s many major festival medals, including 2010 WBC Champion Brewery and Brewmaster (Small Brewpub division) and a 2012 WBC win for Best Vienna Lager. Check them out before you visit the brewery on your next Shenandoah long weekend.
Beer #1: Belgian Congo Pale Ale (Belgian-style IPA / 6.8%)
Notes: Another entry in the ascendant category of Belgian IPAs, DB’s version is reputable and straightforward. Straw blond with a snow white head, Belgian Congo shows its “secret Belgian yeast strain” in its fruity nose. Hops are American in character and prevalent, though not so abundant as to overpower the yeast. A strong malt component ties it all together and makes this one easier to drink than its ABV suggests.
Beer Advocate: 86 (10 reviews)
Rate Beer: 66 overall, 70 style (11 reviews)
Beer #2: Vienna Lager (4.9%)
Notes: I can’t improve on Andy’s write-up from last year: “This is a nice and easy drinking lager, which is something of a lost art these days. Notes of caramel and slight bitterness are accented with a nice base of roasted malt. This one is a great session lager that is a perfect example of Jason Oliver’s approach to packing flavor into beers, even at a lower gravity. As my favorite Jason Oliver quote goes, “Intensity of flavor does not equal quality of flavor.” I need this printed on a t-shirt.”
Beer Advocate: 87 (18 reviews)
Rate Beer: 48 overall, 88 style (26 reviews)
Summary: Despite its strong reputation on the festival circuit, Devils Backbone doesn’t have a huge footprint, as evidenced by the meager number of reviews. But with another strong SAVOR showing and the aforementioned expansion, it won’t be long before both their name and their beer are on the lips of beer drinkers throughout the area.
This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2012 SAVOR participants.
Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.