Devil’s Backbone Pear Lager

One thing I love about the Summer is that the show “Tiny House Hunters” comes back on HGTV. I do not understand why people would want a tiny house. Our house isn’t huge, but I could not live in 200 square feet. When Val and I watch it, we usually just yell at the tv since people have some crazy requests for their tiny house (i.e. “I want my canopy bed to fit in it,” or “I want a full-sized bathtub,”).

ABV: 4.4%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A revitalizing combination of pear and lager, this thirst quenching beer is light to medium in body and refreshing in character with a subtle pear flavor and aroma. Pear, Quaffable, Fresh.”

Random: This is a Summer seasonal from Devil’s Backbone.

The beer poured with a hazy, yellow body with some floaties that were visible. The head was one finger high and white in color. It dissipated quickly, but left very little lacing on the glass. The nose started with some biscuit malt, but quickly transitioned into pear flesh and crushed apples. There was some lager yeast as well. The taste was clean. It started with some tart, Granny Smith apples and then went into biscuit malt. The presence of pear was minimal, which was a bit disappointing. It reminded me of pear jelly beans. The body was on the light side with generous carbonation. The finish was quick with crushed apples. A can of this was $1.67, which broke down to $.14 per ounce. I thought this beer was alright, but if you’re going to call it a pear lager, it needs more pear notes.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Ale Of Two Cities

I’ve been getting into lighter beers lately. I’ve heard the evolution of the craft beer drinker discussed on many a podcast and I definitely fit that. I started with the big hoppy beers, the higher the IBUs the better. I transitioned into the barrel aged beers and then the funky, sour ones. Now, I’m back into the land of pilsners and kolschs. A really good pilsner or kolsch is quite refreshing and I’m hoping this one is up to the challenge.


ABV: 4.7%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The next beer from the family brew project is a Kolsch-style ale using American hops, with the two cities being Cologne in German and Lexington, VA where our Outpost brewery is located. Enjoy this crisp golden ale.”

Random: This beer came in at 18 IBUs.

The brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated quickly, but left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation visible. The nose was very grainy and had a honey-like sweetness. There was some grass, but the grain took over. The taste was also on the sweeter side with milled grain and honey. It had a lightly toasted white bread note with mild hop aroma. The body was light with high carbonation and had a quick, toasted grain finish. This beer didn’t really do it for me. It didn’t drink like a typical kolsch and it couldn’t decide where it wanted to go. I won’t be having it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Danzig Baltic Porter

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Baltic Porter. I tend to really like the style and given that it’s getting colder, I should find some others to crack open. This is another beer from the Val DC trip stash.


ABV: 8%

Style: Baltic Porter

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Baltic-style porter that blends a strong English porter with a Germanic lager approach, fairly robust – this strong black lager has notes of chocolate and coffee with hints of caramelized sugar. Black, Roast, Chocolate. Our Trail Blazers stray from the beaten path into a world of robust and daring beers featuring bigger, bolder flavors for fueling your spirit of adventure. Imagine yourself stepping out of the pilot house onto the pitching deck of a merchant ship plunging through the frigid Baltic Sea night. Squinting against the grey black horizon you spy in the distance the odd sparkle and glimmer; the far away lights of the Baltic port of Danzig are bidding you welcome. Tonight you will feast on dark rye bread and smoked pork sausage, all washed down by the famous strong black lager of the region, the Baltic-style Porter.”

Random: I think Danzig is a band…maybe?

This brew poured with a quarter of a finger of tan head that dissipated instantly. It left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color, with no visible carbonation since it was so dark. The nose was filled with dark, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. It also had roasted malt, smoke and a hint of licorice. The taste was heavy with strong alcohol that took awhile to get used to. It had a coffee flavored syrup and roasted malts. It had smoke, but not nearly as much as the nose. It also had a treacle bread characteristic. The body was syrupy thick and had light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with the same treacle bread and coffee syrup and dark chocolate. This beer felt unrefined with how syrupy it was and the flavors did not transition well. This was $2 a bottle, which came to $.17 per ounce. As you can tell, I wasn’t a big fan of this beer. There are much better examples of the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA

Tonight’s selection is from a brewery that is now owned by AB In Bev. I’m not sure what is going to change about the brewery distribution given the new ownership, but when I had this beer, it wasn’t available in Jersey.


ABV: 6.2%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “This is the first batch of beer we brewed after the conception of Devils Backbone Brewing Company in 2008. Our brewmaster Jason Oliver was thinking about how to design the IPA when he heard a rustle near his fence line (just touching the woods) where he saw two young proud eight point bucks walking along it. He decided to name the beer after those young bucks as it seemed to fit the spirit of the beer,which is proud, brash, youthful, yet approachable. Citrus, Pine, Snap. Basecamp Favorites represent our core brewing principles: balance, approachability and trueness to style.”

Random: I think at some point, I need a new computer. I think the one that I’m using is almost 10 years old.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. There was a slight crown left on top of the hazy, copper body. I couldn’t see much carbonation through the hazy. The nose had a burnt hop quality with old pine sap and dried grapefruit zest. It didn’t have much malt, but the hops were not pleasant. The taste had an aged taste, like an old basement. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled. It also had pine sap and old
pine needles that you would find in July from Christmas. There wasn’t any citrus on it. I also picked up a musty, light malt and caramel. It had a thick body with high carbonation. The finish was quick, with old and musty hops. This was a beer that Val picked up for me as a gift, so no idea on price, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Devils Backbone Catty Wompus

The next brewery we went to was Bunker. This was one of the smallest breweries that we visited. They only had three beers on tap to try. The brewery itself was very small and there was no seating inside the brewery. They had picnic tables outside as well as a deck. We took a seat at the picnic tables with our samples proceeded to get bitten like crazy by bugs. I thought their beers were decent, but not worth getting bug bites over. After about 20 minutes, we were off to the next destination right as the Brew Bus pulled in.


ABV: 7.5%

Style: Belgian IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Cattywompus returns to the line up as the next release in our Trail Blazer series. The Belgian inspired India Pale Ale combines old and new world techniques, ingredients and flavors. This ale is brewed like an IPA and a Belgian ale and blends pine and citrus hop flavors with hints of apple and pear.”

Random: Val picked this beer up in DC for me.

This beer poured with a thin, one finger white head that dissipated almost instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear amber color with high carbonation. The nose was more Belgian-inspired than IPA. I picked up Belgian yeast, cloves and honey sweetness. The taste was more of a balance between the styles. It started with notes of grass and some bitterness. Then, golden raisins came through with yeast and clove. The alcohol was present and drying. It had a medium body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with clove and alcohol. This was $2.17 for the bottle, which broke down to $.18 per ounce. This wasn’t a bad beer, but the prevalence of the alcohol distracted from the other flavors.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Devils Backbone Azrael

Working from home is a different experience for me. I get a lot done because there aren’t any distractions. But, the cat seems to think that because I’m home, my sole purpose is to give him treats on demand. This means that he purrs, meows and occasionally jumps on my desk while I’m working. For the record, I didn’t give him treats until later that night.


ABV: 7%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Whether named after the angel of death of Gargamel’s cat, Azrael will be sure to get you with her blonde good looks and deceptive charm. Azrael is gold in color, medium in body, with hints of apple & pear from the unique Belgian yeast strain used. Be warned, this alluring Belgian-style strong gold ale goes down easy.”

Random: I saw the baby deer a few nights ago. They were about 10 feet or so away from me. They are cute when they are not tearing up my lawn.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark yellow color with light carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of bread with light coriander and golden raisins. The taste was sweet with candi sugar, apricot, golden raisins and booze. There was also the same spice that was apparent in the nose. Banana and white grapes were there too. The body was on the thin side with light carbonation. It had a long, syrupy sweet finish with booze. The single bottle was $2.17 in DC ($.18 per ounce). It was an alright beer, but not one that I would have again and there are many better examples of the style.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Devils Backbone Schwartz Bier

I found yet another crazy local beer while I was at Beer Run. Have I talked about the sandwich I had there? If not, it was awesome. It was a bratwurst with homemade sauerkraut and mustard on a pretzel roll. I am a serious sucker for pretzel rolls. Plus, I really love bratwurst and sauerkraut, so the sandwich in general was going to be a home run for me anyways. So, I first heard of this brewery when I went into the local spice store (where I picked up a bunch of great spices to use for either beer or barbecue). It ends up that the woman who owned the spice store sold them a bunch of spices for a brew. Totally cool. Onto the beer…

ABV: 4.9%

Style: Schwarzbier

Trivia: From what I could find on the website, a pilot batch of this was brewed in January of 2013 and this is a beer that they occasionally brew.

Random: I’m watching a grizzly bear eat a frozen fish on my documentary.

This brew poured with a finger of tan head that dissipated very slowly. It left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color that was almost black with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was light for the style. It presented with roasted malt and a touch of smoke and char. The body was a bit bigger than the nose. I got smoke up front with some chocolate and roasted malts. The body was borderline watery, even given the style. The finish was quick with smoke. This brew was nothing all that special to me. It had some nice flavors, but given how watery the beer was, it took away from the experience.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Devils Backbone Belgian Congo Pale Ale

So, it’s embarrassing to admit, although I do it much less frequently now than when I first started the blog, I apparently forgot to take a picture of this one. It’s even worse when I took a bottle home and easily could have photographed it. Oh well, I guess you’re going to have to deal with a stock photo of the label…

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Belgian Inspired IPA. A blend of old world traditions.. Brewed like an IPA, it blends pine, and citrus, hop flavors with hints of apple & pear from a secret Belgian yeast strain. 6.8% Alcohol by volume, 50 IBUs”

Random: Yet another crazy local brewery to Charlottesville. I’m hoping the growth that we’ve seen in New Jersey with breweries continues, because some of these local breweries are putting out great brews.

This beer poured with a one finger white head that dissipated relatively quickly. It didn’t leave any lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy yellow color with heavy carbonation visible. The nose was definitely more Belgian influenced than IPA. I got notes of Belgian yeast and golden fruit. The taste was more of a hybrid than the nose. I got some grapefruit hops up front with apricot sweetness and Belgian yeast following up. After a few sips, some notes of clove came through as well. The body was medium to heavy with a lot of carbonation to go along with it. The finish was long with hops and Belgian yeast. Although this isn’t my favorite of the style, it was really well executed and almost a true hybrid. If you see it, grab a pint. You won’t be disappointed.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0