A few weeks ago I received an email with the subject “Does Bella like beer?”. Well yes, Bella does like beer, and so I opened that email and kept on reading. In it, a very nice woman named Stephanie asked if I might like to visit an award-winning local brewery for a complimentary tour and tasting. She also asked if I thought the followers of Bella Eats might be interested in reading about that visit, and then submitting a comment on that post for a chance to win a pair of tickets to two separate music festivals in Virginia. Well gosh that all sounded like a lot of fun and, while product promotion and giveaways aren’t very typical in this web space of mine, I really liked the idea of reviewing a local company and hosting a giveaway that supports local music.
And that is how, a flurry of emails later, Brian and I found ourselves driving west out of Charlottesville two Sundays ago. Our destination, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, was recently named Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the small brewpub category at the 2010 World Beer Cup. They also earned one gold medal and three bronze medals for individual beers entered in the same competition, and last year brought home four medals from the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. With stats like that, the not-even-two-years-old brewery had been on our "things to do/see in/around Charlottesville" list for good reason.
The brewmaster, Jason Oliver, has over 14 years of brewing experience and 15 medals for beers he's brewed. We were lucky to have a semi-private tour of the brewhouse scheduled with Jason, who is incredibly knowledgeable about his craft and patient with those of us who are not. He took us through the entire process, from steeping barley in water to fermenting with yeast to flavoring with hops. We were able to try several types of barley from a handful of different countries so that we could see for ourselves how different grains influence the final flavor of the beer we drink. It was fascinating, and very enjoyable. If you live in central Virginia, or are planning to visit the area, I highly recommend scheduling a tour of the brewhouse at Devils Backbone Brewing Company.
After our tour Brian and I found our way to a couple of stools at the long copper-clad bar. DB Brewing Company has 10 beers on tap at all times, 4 that are brewed year-round and 6 rotating seasonal beers that are created by Jason. We decided to split the sampler, and Jason lined up our ten samples alongside a menu with their descriptions. The beers ranged in color from the champagne-toned Azreal (my favorite) to the cola-dark Inspirado (Brian's favorite).
They were each unique, some were surprising, all were quite good. The Wintergreen Weiss, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen, had my attention, as well as the Gold Leaf Lager. But the Azreal...oh, the Azreal (aka Gargamel...a little Smurf reference for you). Fruity on the nose and the tongue, so easy to drink yet nearly 8% alcohol...that one is dangerous, and I loved it. Brian's favorite, the Inspirado, was also excellent with its deep, dark color and rich, fruity flavor.
If you're in the area, make the drive out to Nelson County to visit Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Take the tour, try the sampler, stay for lunch. And be sure to go home with a growler or two. DB Brewing Company beer is available on tap at a few restaurants around Charlottesville, but the only way to take it home with you is to get it straight from the brewery.
Many thanks to Jason and Devils Backbone Brewing Company for hosting us, and to Stephanie for setting it all up!
Music Festival Tickets Giveaway!
Devils Backbone Brewing Company is hosting two music festivals on their Concert Grounds at Devils Backbone, the Brew Ridge Music Festival and The Festy.
Bella Eats is giving away one pair of tickets to each music festival!
You have three opportunities to win tickets:
- Leave a comment on this post specifying that you are interested in winning the tickets and which festival you would prefer to attend.
- Become a friend of both BRTMF and The Festy on Facebook and leave a second comment on this post telling me you've done so. (Honor system here folks!)
- Follow The Festy on Twitter and leave a third comment on this post telling me you've done so. (Again, honor system!)
Brew Ridge Music Festival: The second annual Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival is an all ages event featuring top musical artists and sixteen local beers on tap. Scheduled for Sat, August 21 at the Concert Grounds at Devils Backbone (Nelson County, VA, 45 miles from Charlottesville), Cerberus Productions, 106.1 "The Corner" and the Brew Ridge Trail members are thrilled that this year's festival will be headlined by Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. Additional confirmed acts include Devon Allman's Honeytribe and William Walter & Co. For overnight accommodations, Wintergreen. Gates open at noon, rain or shine. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival.
One winner will receive two Taphouse Tent tickets, which include admission to the festival and (8) 4oz beer tasting tickets!
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The Festy: The Infamous Stringdusters, The Artist Farm, Cerberus Productions and Devils Backbone Brewing Company present The Festy Experience, a 2-day camping festival over Columbus Day weekend (Oct 9 & 10) at The Concert Grounds at Devils Backbone in Nelson County, Virginia (45 mi. from Charlottesville). Hosted and curated by The Infamous Stringdusters, The Festy Experience will celebrate and combine the best in live music, outdoor sports and lifestyle, craft beer culture and raging good times.
In addition to two nights with The Dusters, confirmed acts include Railroad Earth, Josh Ritter, Toubab Krewe, The Tony Rice Unit and a slew of musically diverse acts that embody The Festy Experience spirit.
Wanna festy, but don't wanna camp? Weekend day passes are available, but bypass couch surfing for the Wintergreen Resort Experience. All rooms booked at the Wintergreen Resort in association with The Festy Experience will receive an exclusive 20% off.
One winner will receive two tickets to The Festy!
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