Your Beermonger: Local Breweries Clean Up National Beer Fest

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

Last week (October 11-13) saw the 2012 edition of the Great American Beer Festival happen in Denver, which means two things:

1. Most of the luminaries of the Craft Beer industry were on hand tasting and judging some of the most exciting beers in the country, and

2. I wasn’t there.

I’ll get out to GABF one of these years, but I’ll always kick myself a little for missing this one as I believe we finally saw the breakthrough of DMV-based breweries onto the national scene. DC Brau scored a silver medal in the Belgian and French-Style Ale category for Your Favorite Foreign Movie; a recipe by local homebrewer Brian Barrows that won Meridian Pint’s homebrew competition. Maryland’s DuClaw took silver for their excellent X-1 Porter in the Chocolate Beer category. Falls Church brewpub Mad Fox Brewing Company earned silver in the Bock category with their Elixer Maibock.

Local winners you can snag off the shelf right now include the Bronze winner in the English-Style IPA category, Monumental IPA by Port City Brewing Company and Blue Mountain Barrel House’s Local Species, and bronze winner for Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers. Making the biggest splash this year was Lexington, Virginia’s Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. Devil’s Backbone came home with nine GABF medals, including Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer Of The Year (yes, that is the entire name of that one category). Individual beer medals for Devil’s Backbone include:

  • Gold Leaf (bronze, American-Style or International-Style Pils)
  • Danzig (silver, Baltic-Style Porter)
  • Old Virginia Dark (silver, American-Style Dark Lager)
  • Turbo Cougar (bronze, Bock)
  • Berliner Metro Weiss (gold, German-Style Sour)
  • Ramsey’s Export Stout (bronze, Foreign-Style Stout)
  • Ramsey’s Draft Stout (bronze, Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout)
  • Vienna Lager (gold, Vienna-Style Lager)

Unfortunately, out of the winning Devil’s Backbone beers only Vienna Lager is available in bottles, with their Eight Point IPA and Azrael Belgian-Style Blonde also available. All three are excellent, and have been picking up major steam on our shelves over the summer. The style of Devil’s Backbone seems to favor balance over flash, which serves the Vienna Lager especially well—it’s a textbook version of the style, and with the brewery’s close proximity six-packs hit the shelves quicker than most.

Devil’s Backbone is a young brewery, and hopefully the exposure of this GABF performance will eventually translate into more bottling runs for these great beers. There was already demand building; with luck we’ll be seeing much more of Devil’s Backbone beer along with those of all of our local GABF winners into the future.

Did you get to go to GABF? Got a favorite local brew? Let’s hear about it in the comments. Until next time.


Nick Anderson maintains a blog at, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

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