Sunday, June 30, 2013

Devils Backbone Vienna Lager

The other day, my lovely wife and son took me to the Melting Pot in RVa for one of my Birthday Dinners.  As always, Fondue was “Fundo” and we had a great time.Devil's Backbone Label

While there, I had a great opportunity to try another Virginia Beer, this time a Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Vienna Lager.

Established in 2008 and based out of Roseland, VA – Devils Backbone has been making some noise in the Craft Brewing Arena – including Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year 2012 at the Great American Beer Festival.   How funny is it, that I leave CoMO (with Flat Branch a multi-medalist) to find another right in my backyard (so to speak).  This moving is turning out more and more positive.

For those unfamiliar with the style, you might be surprised that – while you might not recognize the name, you probably have drank a Vienna style lager in the past .  Vienna or amber lager was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841. Austrian brewers who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century took the style with them. Vienna lager is a reddish-brown or copper-colored beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. Vienna lager is brewed using a three step decoction boiling process. Munich, Pilsner, Vienna toasted and dextrin malts are used, as well wheat in some cases. Subtle hops, crisp, with residual sweetness. The malt aroma and flavor may have a toasted character. Despite their name, Vienna lagers are generally uncommon in Europe today but can be found frequently in North America, where it is often called pre-Prohibition style amber lager (often shortened to "pre-Prohibition lager"), as the style was popular in pre-1919 America.

Dos Equis and Negra Modelo are notables from Mexico, meanwhile here in the US Yuengling (which I will be reviewing shortly) and Samuel Adams are the most famous in this type of beer.

Vienna Lager

Devil's Backbone Vienna Style Lager

  • Source – Bottle
  • Alcohol Content – 4.9%
  • Appearance- A dark gold/amber (almost Bronze) hue, clear in with moderate carbonation.  Asymmetrical bubbly light head, could have been due how cold the beer was served.  I let it breathe a little before I drank (thus the lack of head in the picture).
  • Nose -  A toasty aroma, with a hint of caramelized brown sugar.  I honestly thought of a bakery when I smelled it.
  • Taste – Bready, toasted grains and nuts- with mid-mouth caramel taste.  Well balanced (not overly hoppy) with a leaning towards malty.  Very Creamy mouthfeel with a crisp finish that brings out the citrus/hops.

Sadly, I was unable to try the beer “On Tap” and had to settle for a bottle – but I hope to rectify that soon, either with a Brewery Visit or at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest.

Overall- After spending time drinking high end Hop-Bombs, this was an interesting change…heading back into the lagers and maltier beers.  Again, this is something that seems prevalent in Virginia (East Coast) breweries.  Not complaining by a long shot, just a change from what I am used to in the Mid-West. 

I rather enjoyed the sweet and malty taste – finding the beer very refreshing and a good accompaniment to our dinner.  The flavors were not overbearing and this is definitely a great beer to pair with delicate foods such as fish or lobster.  Just sitting typing, I wish I had a 6-pack and a bucket of mussels to enjoy on the porch – this beer stuck in my head that much.

Great beer that I WILL be buying to have in the beer fridge, and if Dave from 44 Stone is reading….you should run a keg if you can get it in MidMO.  This would compliment some of your more extreme offerings.

I give this beer a Solid 4 out of 5.  Well done.

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