Devils Backbone Brewing Company

It’s beginning to look a lot like...

by dbmanager Thursday December 11, 2014 @ 14:15 PM

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, ev’ry where you go! We’re gearing up for the 12 Beers of Christmas at Basecamp Brewpub (Dec. 13 – 24) and the Ugly Christmas Sweater party at the Outpost Tap Room (Dec. 19).  And so, the DB team is fully in the spirit of the season with red bows and ribbons, jingle bells, Christmas trees, festive songs and of course plenty of holiday cheer and tasty DB beer!

This time of year always makes us giddy with excitement – holiday adventure time you know? And yeah, there very well may be some Elf Yourself videos flying around the brewery. So where ever you are, however you celebrate, we hope you too make it an adventure! 

Holiday cheers from the DB team!

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The Inside Scoop on Wee Heavy

by dbmanager Monday November 3, 2014 @ 17:31 PM

Today at the Outpost we bottled another batch of Kilt Flasher Wee Heavy Scotch Ale.  This delicious and full bodied beer is rich in flavor with a warming complexity, perfect for the onset of winter.  So what's with the name Wee Heavy?

While the style of beer dates back several hundred years, Fowler’s brewery is credited with first using the term Wee Heavy in the mid-20th century to describe one of their strong ales.  Fowler’s served their Twelve Guinea Ale (recipe records show the ale being made as early as the 1860's) in nip bottles, which were roughly six ounces (wee).  That beer had an ABV greater than 6% (heavy).  Thus, wee is said to characterizes a smaller volume and heavy refers to a higher ABV and through the year's this nomenclature evolved into a beer style.

So, Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Kilt Flasher is a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale? Scotch Ales in general are full bodied, dark beers  that are higher in alcohol content.  These beer are also much heavier on the malt bill and much lighter on the hop side.  Kilt Flasher has an ABV of 8%, is brown in color wtih ruby highlights and is traditonally served in a 12 ounce goblet. The beer is brewed with Maris Otter Pale, Pilsner, Amber Dark Crystal and Pale Chocolate Malts and utilizes English hops (20 IBUs). 

Dark Chocolate Malts add rich toffee notes and Amber Malts give a toasty character while the Pale Chocolate Malts lend the beer its brown color.  Northern Brewer and Fuggle English hops impart earthy, woody characteristics that balance the sweetness of the malts.  Kilt Flasher is also fermented slowly and at a low temperature, creating a hearty beer ideal for drinking in the cooler months.  And in the words of DB Brewmaster Jason Oliver, "Much like the early Scottish settlers of the Virginia Highlands, Kilt Flasher has a robustness that stands up to anything.  Enjoy a pint and expose yourself to great beer."  


Devils Backbone Awarded Third Consecutive National Title at The 2014 Great American Beer Festival

by dbmanager Wednesday October 8, 2014 @ 9:20 AM

Devils Backbone Awarded Third Consecutive National Title

at The 2014 Great American Beer Festival:

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year!

Lexington, VA • October 7th, 2014 - Devils Backbone Brewing Company took home the titles for Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Team of the year at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, the largest brewing competition in the world. Devils Backbone has earned four national titles within five years. Steve Crandall, founder of Devils Backbone Brewing Company stated, “Going from small brewpub to mid-size brewing company is a huge leap and still we are able to showcase our brewing excellence. What an amazing accomplishment by our team”.

In addition to the national title, Devils Backbone brought home four medals to add to their collection: Gold - Schwartz Bier (German-Style Schwarzbier), Silver - Turbo Cougar (Bock), Silver - Old Virginia Dark (American-Style Dark Lager) and Bronze - Alt Bier (German-Style Altbier). “The Outpost staff is extremely honored to be the recipient of the Mid-Size Brewery of The Year Award. I get to witness the dedication and skill of our production group on a daily basis, and this award speaks volumes of their commitment to quality”, said Nate Olewine, Lead Brewer. “It’s truly a cumulative effort from our entire staff, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this recognition. At the end of the day, we’re lucky to pursue a craft that means so much to us and our fans.”

“I feel honored to work with such great co-workers”, said Jason Oliver, Brewmaster. “The DB Outpost crew lived up to their high standards and brought home Mid-size Brewery of Year at GABF! I had a feeling they would do it.”

Since its inception, the company has been known for their consistent quality and award winning beers, which have positioned Devils Backbone amongst the leaders in the craft beer industry. Their prestigious collection of national awards includes twenty-seven Great American Beer Festival medals, seven World Beer Cup awards, and fifteen Virginia Craft Brewers Fest medals with three consecutive “Best of Show” titles.

About Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Along with the 2014 Great American Beer Festival Mid-size Brewery of the Year award, Devils Backbone won the 2013 Small Brewing Company of the Year, the 2012 Small Brew Pub of the Year, and the 2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery & Small Brew Pub award. The Company operates two breweries in central Virginia. Basecamp, which opened in 2008, is the company’s original brewpub and The Outpost, a modern packaging brewery outside of Lexington, Virginia. The company produces approximately twenty beer styles commercially, with many more experimental styles in production at Basecamp. Devils Backbone beers are inspired by brewing traditions around the world. Vienna Lager, the company’s flagship, is one of the top Virginia craft brands in the Mid-Atlantic, and continues to be one of the fastest growing brands in the country. The company employs approximately 100 people, primarily at their breweries in Virginia. Devils Backbone products are currently available in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC.

About 2014 Great American Beer Festival

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 268 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States, plus three GABF Pro-Am medals. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence. In its 28th year, the 2014 competition surpassed all previous participation records.

Summary: 2014 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

• 710 breweries in the festival hall

• More than 3,500 beers served at the festival

• 49,000 attendees

• More than 3,200 volunteers

• 1,309 breweries in the competition from 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

• 5,507 beers judged (not including 89 Pro-Am competition entries), a sixteen percent increase over 2013

• 90 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition

• 222 judges from 10 countries Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 61.2 (excludes Pro-Am beers)

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by dbmanager Friday October 3, 2014 @ 14:15 PM

The Devils Backbone team is well immersed at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. And in between catching up with brewery friends, attending sessions, jamming at the silent disco and the like, DB is on the floor pouring nine beers: Golf Leaf Lager, Old Virginia Dark, Schwartz Bier, Turbo Cougar, Vienna Lager, Ale of Fergus, Alt Bier, Berliner Metro Weiss and Danzig Porter. Also of note for this year’s GABF, Devils Backbone has been paired up with Denver’s own Russell’s Smokehouse for the 2014 Farm to Table Pavilion. The DB-Smokehouse duo is one of 14 teams invited to the special session. Pumpkin Hunter and Smokehaus Lager will be served at this event.

A few more quick facts for you: 5,689 beers from 1,329 breweries are being judged at GABF 2014. That’s impressive! Speaking of judging, DB Brewmaster Jason Oliver reports that on Wednesday, he judged his “first table of the day at the GABF with such luminaries as Dick Cantwell from Elysian, Todd Ashman from 50/50, Peggy Pickart from Briess Malting, John Holl from All About Beer Magazine, and Gordon Strong from BJCP. A great table. It's awesome to work with such fine folks championing our industry!”

For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to make the trip to Denver, Colo. this year, we can still keep an eye on all the action. Here a couple of useful links to put you in the loop as the beer flows at GABF:

Catch a live look-in via The Brewing Network livestream

For folks in the Twitter universe – connect with @GABF and/or search #GABF

Insider tips – for next time or live vicariously through others right now!

The Great American Beer Festival website is also a good resource for daily schedules, maps, beer lists etc.

And, of course, there’s an app for that! My GABF

So dial in and cheer on the brews, breweries and brewers in Denver no matter where you are. How do you plan to follow your fave local breweries at GABF 2014? Chime in on Facebook and let us know. Cheers!



by dbmanager Tuesday September 30, 2014 @ 17:45 PM

New Orleans, La. --  Yesterday Devils Backbone Brewing Company founder Steve Crandall participated in a general session panel at the 77th Annual National Beer Wholesalers Association Convention.  The group of leaders from U.S breweries was moderated by Mike Gretz (President of Gretz Beer Company and NBWA Communications and Public Affairs Committee Chairman), and consisted of No-Li Brewhouse co-founder John Bryant, Devils Backbone Brewing Company founder Steven Crandall, MillerCoors chief Tom Long and Lagunitas Brewing Company founder Tony Magee. 

The panel covered a range of topics from distribution and competition to local relevancy. Devils Backbone Brewing Co.’s Crandall noted the importance of his brewery being locally relevant.  Crandall shared that hiring folks “from that area” along with hosting and participating in as many local events as possible helps.  And when the topic of competing for wholesaler’s craft beer portfolio space arose, Crandall suggested, “Work harder. That’s all you got to do.”

See video highlights from the convention here

Upon conclusion of the NBWA conference, Crandall and several DB team members return to the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Co. where 5,689 beers from 1,329 breweries are competing for medals.  In addition to pouring nine beers at the festival Devils Backbone is also participating in the Farm to Table Pavilion.  DB is one of 14 breweries invited to this year’s pavilion. 




Devils Backbone Debuts in the United Kingdom with American IPA

by dbmanager Friday September 19, 2014 @ 15:51 PM

London, England - Devils Backbone Brewing Company today announced the launch of American IPA, the first of the brewery’s beers to be sold outside of the United States. The beer is an original Devils Backbone recipe showcasing American hops and brewed especially for the English palate. The inaugural batch was crafted by Devils Backbone Brewmaster Jason Oliver at Banks’s Brewery in Wolverhampton, England and will release on tap at 930-plus Wetherspoon pub locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland on October 1st.


The beer features a mix of English and classic American hops which give it a bright, snappy, hop character. The English hop varieties, East Kent Goldings and Admiral, provide the underlying bitterness and flavor while the American varieties, added late in the process, fill out the flavor profile and give the beer a West Coast style citrus-pine nose. Working at Banks’s allowed Oliver to try some different brewing methods. The beer is made using a single-infusion mash of Pale Ale malt and fermented in open vats, which is significantly different from Devils Backbone’s traditionally Germanic approach at home in the US. The experience left Oliver nostalgic for the early days of his brewing career: “I started out at an English inspired brewery in Baltimore, and brewing at Banks’s really took me back, especially seeing the open fermentations. You can smell them, almost hear them slowly churning, and all but touch them. They’re tangible, alive and something I haven’t experienced in a long time.”


Devils Backbone American IPA will be served exclusively at all Wetherspoon locations throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The beer will be offered on draft, rather than as a cask, which improves the sharpness of the hop flavors. Devils Backbone was impressed with their new retail partner’s commitment to selection and freshness. “We visited quite a few Wetherspoon pubs and I was struck by the number of options offered to consumers, even in the country pubs, and by the knowledgeable managers we met who really cared about the quality of the beverages they were serving,” explained Chief Operating Officer Hayes Humphreys. “We’re confident that our beer will be well tended to.”

About Devils Backbone Brewing Company: Devils Backbone Brewing Company, the largest craft brewery in Virginia, is the current and two time Great American Beer Festival Small Brewing Company of the Year. The Company operates two breweries in central Virginia. Basecamp, which opened in 2008, is the company’s original brewpub and restaurant in Nelson County. The Outpost is a modern production brewery outside of Lexington. The company produces approximately twenty beer styles commercially, with many more experimental styles in production at Basecamp. Their beer is inspired by brewing traditions around the world. Vienna Lager, the company’s flagship, is one of the top craft brands in the nation, and continues to be one of the fastest growing. The company employs approximately 100 people, primarily at their breweries in Virginia. In the United States, Devils Backbone products are available only in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC.

Breakout the Lederhosen: O'Fest Release & Oktoberfest Party this Weekend

by dbmanager Monday September 15, 2014 @ 12:46 PM

In the Blue Ridge, the promise of fall abounds; nights are cooler, weekend tailgates are in full swing, the leaves are just beginning to turn, and the sun sets a wee bit earlier each day. At Devils Backbone, the upcoming O’Fest release also signals the change of season in the Virginia Heartland, and you are invited to partake in the festivities, and yes that includes wearing your best lederhosen!

Not going to make it to Munich for Oktoberfest this year? No problem, you can still get in the spirit state side.  Come on down to the Outpost Tap Room on Saturday, September 20 for the Devils Backbone O’Fest Release and Oktoberfest Party. At the Outpost party, grab a pint of O’Fest fresh on tap while wearing lederhosen and German colors for a chance to win DB swag—winners announced at the end of the night. O’Fest also makes its 2014 debut at Basecamp Brewpub on Saturday the 20th. Enjoy a pint or fill up your growler at either location.

O’Fest, an Oktoberfest-Märzen style beer and draught only release, is brewed with imported malts and hops and a traditional decoction mash. The reddish-amber brew is a nod to the time-honored Oktoberfest beers that originated in Germany. Although the beer style origin dates back many centuries, the first Oktoberfest was held a little over 200 years ago in Munich in 1810. The present-day Munich Oktoberfest celebration lasts over two weeks! Learn more about the history of Oktoberfest, the festival and beer style, here.

This weekend, join us as we say so-long to summer and hello fall wiht a pint of O'Fest.


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Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Earns Top Honors at 2014 Virginia Craft Brewers Fest

by dbmanager Tuesday August 26, 2014 @ 14:43 PM

Nelson County, VA • August 23, 2014: The Virginia Brewers Cup ended the day exactly where it began: overlooking the Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub. Devils Backbone Brewing Company once again earned top honors at the 3rd annual Virginia Craft Brewers Festival, hosted by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild in Nelson County, Virginia. Devils Backbone took home 7 medals, including 4 gold medals, and swept the Best of Show awards in what is the largest competition held in the state. 51 Virginia craft breweries participated in the festival on an overcast Saturday, and the field of competition consisted of 221 beers across 23 categories.


Devils Backbone's Turbo Cougar, a blond bock, was awarded the overall prize for best of show. Their Smokehaus Lager and Berliner Metro Weiss took the Silver and Bronze Best of Show prizes respectively. Devils Backbone won an additional gold medal for their flagship Vienna Lager; a silver medal for Pear Lager and bronzes for their Schwartz Bier and their East/West India Pale Lager.


The brewers were surprised and ecstatic about the recognition: "I was hoping for a "hat trick" and we got a double hat trick," said Brewmaster Jason Oliver, referring to the company's third consecutive Best of Show award and the sweep of all three of this year's top honors. According to Nate Olewine, Head Brewer at the Company's Outpost Brewery, the wins don't come easily. “It’s a great pleasure to see our name on the Virginia Brewers Cup for the third year running.  I see first-hand the sacrifices our dedicated and determined staff make to produce such a quality product on a daily basis.  Truly a team effort!”


The Virginia Brewers Cup win adds to a growing list of accolades earned by Devils Backbone in the last 12 months. Devils Backbone won 6 medals and the overall prize for Small Brewing Company of the year at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival last October. That win was followed by two awards at  the 2014 World Beer Cup, and a slew of local consumer's choice awards. Their Vienna Lager was selected as the top beer in the 2014 Washington Post Madness, the 2014 Blue Ridge Outdoors - Best Blue Ridge Craft Beer and 2014 Best of Cville.


More than 2,500 beer enthusiasts joined the 51 participating Virginia Breweries at this year’s Virginia Craft Brewers Fest. The number of beers entered this year was nearly double the prior year and judging took place in advance of the event at Mad Fox Brewing Company in Northern Virginia. The competition was overseen independently by Master Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judge Tom Cannon along with 28 certified judges who volunteered their time for the event. George Stewart, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, presented the awards for Best in Show on behalf of the governor, who has once again declared August to be Virginia Craft Beer Month.


Devils Backbone Brewing Company is a regional Craft Brewery with two locations in the Virginia Heartland. The Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub, a full service restaurant with on-premise brewery, opened its doors in 2008 in Nelson County, VA and the Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery, a full-scale production facility and taproom, began operations in 2012 in Lexington. VA. Steven Crandall founded the company and Jason Oliver leads the brewing operations. At their Basecamp Brewpub, they have crafted well over 100 different styles of beer, approximately 15 of which have been scaled up for production and distribution from the Outpost facility. The company currently distributes its beers through wholesalers across Virginia, Washington DC and in Maryland.


In its five-year existence, Devils Backbone has been awarded 30 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, and 20 medals at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest. Additionally, Devils Backbone earned two national titles, 2013 Small Brewing Company & Small Brewing Company Brewer and 2012 Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. Devils Backbone has earned one international title for the 2010 Champion Brewery and Brewmaster Small Brewpub at the World Beer Cup. Their Basecamp Favorites flagship Vienna Lager won gold medals at both the 2012 Great American Beer Festival 20 and the 2012 World Beer Cup.







Media inquiries can be directed to Marketing Director Heidi Crandall at

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VA Craft Beer Month Reaches Midpoint

by dbmanager Friday August 15, 2014 @ 16:07 PM

It’s the middle of August, how is your Virginia Craft Beer Month going?  There are so many great craft beer events across Virginia any given month of year, but August really knocks it out of the park! You know what else rocks about August:  FIVE full weekends to enjoy craft beer and right now we are only on weekend number three!

Perhaps you attended the 2nd annual Hop Harvest Fest last weekend at the Outpost?  2014 festival goers and Whipple Creek Farms together picked enough cascade hops, that the hop picking machine was only fired up for demos on the day of the Hop Harvest.  The very next day, all 180 pounds of hops were brewed in the pilot brewing system at Basecamp as part of the Blue Ridge Hop Revival beer recipe, which will be available on draught later this fall. 

Or maybe you are headed to Devils Backbone for the Pumpkin Hunter release? Our Trail Blazer pumpkin ale is brewed with pumpkin and spices and in the words of Brewmaster Jason Oliver, “is frighteningly delicious!”  Debate exists over pumpkin beers hitting the market mid-August, the late summer pumpkin beer arrival has even been referred to as a victim of seasonal creep. Whatever your position, pumpkin beer abounds and Virginia lays claim to some outstanding pumpkin brews. And if you are not quite ready for pumpkin beer? Grab a six pack and hold on, fall is coming!

Basecamp Brewpub hosts VA Craft Beer Month events too - including Tuesday Burg and Pint nights, and special dessert creations like BEER FLOATS!  Bonus for August, grab a growler at the Brewpub and head outside for theater in the Blue Ridge. Sipping on Ale of Fergus while watching Macbeth? “All Hail the King of Scotland.”  Please and thank you!

And a much anticipated summer highlight is right around the corner: the 3rd Annual Virginia Craft Brewers Fest.  The festival is a great place to taste your favorite VA craft beers and maybe even add a new one to your list.  Brewers across the state have been crafting their year-rounds and brewing one-offs, all to share with you!

Our friends to the north are also celebrating craft beer…Maryland is wrapping up its craft beer week and the nation’s capital kicks off DC Beer Week this weekend! 


No matter where you are: hanging on to the end of summer or preparing for the start of fall, make craft beer a part of your adventure!


Virginia Celebrates Craft Beer Month

by dbmanager Friday August 1, 2014 @ 13:45 PM

August is here and that means Love is on Tap, Virginia!

In 2012, Virginia officially recognized August as Virginia Craft Beer Month, and to begin this year’s celebration, I submit to you my very first Devils Backbone Brewing Company blog post. 

In just three short months with Devils Backbone Brewing Company, I’ve witnessed DB receive a House Joint Resolution from the Virginia General Assembly commending the company for its leadership in the craft beer industry, seen the Outpost reach the 60,000 barrel production rate, and observed the first-ever run of tall boys roll off the canning line in the Outpost packaging hall.  I have watched Basecamp and the Pilot Brewery hit it out of the park with delicious dishes and tasty brews and marveled at the Striped Bass project and DBBC dedication to environmental stewardship. 

I’ve met folks who have been with the company since day one and bonded with the newbies as well.  We have camped together, tubed down the James River en mass and enjoyed shift beers at the end of our work days.

Earlier this week I participated in the infamous DB boot camp.  The intense, fun, info-packed sessions, provided a detailed look into the company DNA.   And in the coming weeks and months, I look forward to sharing more with you about Devils Backbone team adventures.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take advantage of the statewide celebration and enjoy VA Craft Beer wherever adventure takes you.



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DB Blogger

Jean Hazelwood

Adventure enthusiast in pursuit of Vita Abundantior, and official blogger for Devils Backbone Brewing Company.  I'm dedicated to learning, living and sharing the DB adventure. What are you waiting for? Craft An Adventure!