Headquartered in rural Virginia, “you don’t just stumble upon Devils Backbone brewery in Virginia,” Sales Director Ben Laderosa told me as I sat across from him at the Devils Backbone beer dinner in Atlanta Bluetop restaurant. You would have to know it’s there. But even if you can’t make it to their brewpub in Virginia, you can still enjoy their German influenced beers.
Disclosure: My meal at Bluetop was complimentary.
Where did the name Devils Backbone come from?
The name “Devils Backbone” was selected to incorporate this region’s history into modern culture. On September 25, 1746, eight years before the French and Indian War, a party of forty set out from Bear Fence Mountain in the Blue Ridge on one of the most legendary land surveys in American history. They had already spent two-weeks charting various wild rivers to find the true “Headspring of the Rappahannock,” its point-of-beginning as decreed by King George. Among the party were axmen, chainmen, compass-men, note keepers, mathematicians, astronomers, hunters, cooks, and gentleman commissioners whose job it was to make lawyerly decisions as needed and to purchase provisions (somehow) along the way, keeping the party supplied. These hardy Virginians’ descendants are part of our core patrons to this day, according to our latest market analysis. They were hand-picked – the best men and minds in Virginia. Perhaps the most notable member of the party was Thomas Jefferson’s father, a colonel, reputably the strongest man in Rockingham County. Their task was to carve and measure a straight line, eighty-miles long through the wilderness, connecting the sources of the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. This line was known as “The Fairfax Line.”
Besides being all around awesome beer that sips well itself or with food as you can see below, the company is fully invested in helping with local charitable organizations in Virginia as well as magically providing acts of kindness to hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Each quarter, the company brews a new beer to fit the mission of the nonprofit and will donate a portion of sales from that beer to the organization.
How would you know about Devils Backbone beer, its history and the wonderful philanthropic things it does? Because they do an amazing job of marketing themselves. More brands should employ these marketing tactics. Case in point is the Devils Backbone tour dubbed “DB Thru Hike” through the eastern coast with stops in Atlanta, Cinncinnati, Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach.
The tour includes fun events in each city, but the best part is the Trail Magic dinners. They pick cool restaurants in each city to partner with and develop a menu around their various beers. Check out the menu we had at Chamblee’s Bluetop:
Appetizer: Cocktail with Cran Gose and Lemoncello: Basil wrapped shrimp beignets with a Lemoncello sauce
1st Course – Watermelon, feta, mint salad & Eight Point IPA
2nd Course – King crab with burnt cream & Gold Leaf Lager
3rd Course – Spring Carbonara Risotto (Duck Egg) & Trail Angel Weiss
4th Course – Braised Beef Short Rib with smashed roasted potatoes & Vienna Lager
5th Course- Mexican S’mores & Black Lager
For the final pairing of the evening, Devils Backbone had us make our own S’mores in the outdoor patio of Bluetop. How cool is that? What a phenomenal evening of fantastic food and conversation! The shrimp beignets and the short ribs were my favorites as far as taste and pairing, though I was surprised by how light the black lager was and how well it paired with S’mores.
I may have been crushing on Devils Brewing beer before this dinner, but I’m just smitten with them now. Have you tried DB beer? What’s your favorite?