Name: Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Location: Roseland, VA


Type: Production brewery and brewpub

Available in DC Market: Yes


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. 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), a 2012 WBC win for Best Vienna Lager, and, oh yeah, a bunch of others. Check them out before you visit the brewery on your next Shenandoah long weekend.

Beer #1: Pear Lager (Lager / 4.4% ABV)

In Their Own Words: "This light-bodied lager is a beautiful straw color and has a smooth finish… Delicious and thirst-quenching – an easy drinking beer perfect for anytime! 4.4% abv, 12 IBUs."

Food Pairing: Yellow watermelon with black sea salt and onion ash

Our Thoughts: Long live lager! Devils Backbone brewmaster Jason Oliver is highly regarded for his ability to brew traditional and unique lager beer. This one is no exception. With no sacrifice of traditional ingredients, or techniques, this lager meets all the hallmarks of the old-world style. A new-world twist is brought with the addition of pear, which takes nothing away from the traditional style and even adds the fruit in a modest, agreeable amount. It is not one of those monster-lagers that the quaffer need steer clear of. In fact, it is the opposite, a delectable, modest flavor profile that appeases even the most “strekt” braumeister.

Beer #2: Danzig (Baltic porter / 8% ABV)

In Their Own Words: “This beer has always been a cult favorite and one near and dear to me. Baltic Porters are perhaps Eastern Europe's only real indigenous contemporary beer style. Being half ethnically Ukrainian, I have always loved this beer style and have brewed versions of it at four breweries now. This beer won a silver medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and a gold medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup.”

Food Pairing: Espresso-crusted bison on black bread

Our Thoughts: When Brewmaster Jason Oliver wrote the description of Danzig above, the Devils Backbone brewery had yet to win a 2012 GABF Silver Medal in the in the Baltic-style Porter category…which Danzig eventually did. Even though he and the Devils Backbone crew have won many medals in recent years, this beer is one for the ages. Is it a Schwarzbier? A Munich Dunkel? A Tmavy or Bohemian Dark? It’s a lager. Forget style. It is a beer with a long, dry finish, barely a kiss of hops which blend nobly into a slightly burnt, crisp, coffee-like finish. Sure you’ve heard every porter under the sun referred to as “rich,” “chocolatey,” and/or “coffee-like.” But this lager is backed by centuries of practice from lands all over Eastern Europe. Call it whatever style you wish, but call it delicious. That’s how we at DCBeer refer to it.

This profile is a part of the SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.