Sunday, June 30, 2013

Devils Backbone Vienna Lager

The other day, my lovely wife and son took me to the Melting Pot in RVa for one of my Birthday Dinners.  As always, Fondue was “Fundo” and we had a great time.Devil's Backbone Label

While there, I had a great opportunity to try another Virginia Beer, this time a Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Vienna Lager.

Established in 2008 and based out of Roseland, VA – Devils Backbone has been making some noise in the Craft Brewing Arena – including Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year 2012 at the Great American Beer Festival.   How funny is it, that I leave CoMO (with Flat Branch a multi-medalist) to find another right in my backyard (so to speak).  This moving is turning out more and more positive.

For those unfamiliar with the style, you might be surprised that – while you might not recognize the name, you probably have drank a Vienna style lager in the past .  Vienna or amber lager was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841. Austrian brewers who emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century took the style with them. Vienna lager is a reddish-brown or copper-colored beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. Vienna lager is brewed using a three step decoction boiling process. Munich, Pilsner, Vienna toasted and dextrin malts are used, as well wheat in some cases. Subtle hops, crisp, with residual sweetness. The malt aroma and flavor may have a toasted character. Despite their name, Vienna lagers are generally uncommon in Europe today but can be found frequently in North America, where it is often called pre-Prohibition style amber lager (often shortened to "pre-Prohibition lager"), as the style was popular in pre-1919 America.

Dos Equis and Negra Modelo are notables from Mexico, meanwhile here in the US Yuengling (which I will be reviewing shortly) and Samuel Adams are the most famous in this type of beer.

Vienna Lager

Devil's Backbone Vienna Style Lager

  • Source – Bottle
  • Alcohol Content – 4.9%
  • Appearance- A dark gold/amber (almost Bronze) hue, clear in with moderate carbonation.  Asymmetrical bubbly light head, could have been due how cold the beer was served.  I let it breathe a little before I drank (thus the lack of head in the picture).
  • Nose -  A toasty aroma, with a hint of caramelized brown sugar.  I honestly thought of a bakery when I smelled it.
  • Taste – Bready, toasted grains and nuts- with mid-mouth caramel taste.  Well balanced (not overly hoppy) with a leaning towards malty.  Very Creamy mouthfeel with a crisp finish that brings out the citrus/hops.

Sadly, I was unable to try the beer “On Tap” and had to settle for a bottle – but I hope to rectify that soon, either with a Brewery Visit or at the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest.

Overall- After spending time drinking high end Hop-Bombs, this was an interesting change…heading back into the lagers and maltier beers.  Again, this is something that seems prevalent in Virginia (East Coast) breweries.  Not complaining by a long shot, just a change from what I am used to in the Mid-West. 

I rather enjoyed the sweet and malty taste – finding the beer very refreshing and a good accompaniment to our dinner.  The flavors were not overbearing and this is definitely a great beer to pair with delicate foods such as fish or lobster.  Just sitting typing, I wish I had a 6-pack and a bucket of mussels to enjoy on the porch – this beer stuck in my head that much.

Great beer that I WILL be buying to have in the beer fridge, and if Dave from 44 Stone is reading….you should run a keg if you can get it in MidMO.  This would compliment some of your more extreme offerings.

I give this beer a Solid 4 out of 5.  Well done.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How did I ever miss this song?

My buddy Glenn and I listened to some great punk music back in the day – although it seemed at one time the genre was centered on the Violent Femmes, Dead Milkmen and Surf Punks.  Ahhh, the good old days.300x300

Anyway – how did I miss a band named Splodgenessabounds? How did I miss a band with a frontman named Max Splodge?  And FFS, how did I miss a song called "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please"?

Ahhhh well, I guess this is why the internet was invented….so we could find all the crazy stuff we missed when we were in Drunken Stupors.

Cheers- and Enjoy

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Legend Brown Ale Review

I had been struggling with what local beer to review first, but thanks to Birkdale Golf Club, my selection was made for me… they have Legend Brown Ale on Tap.

I have been seeing this beer all around town, I figured it was time to see what the Hubbub was all about.logo2

Established in 1994, Legend Brewing Company is Central Virginia’s Oldest Microbrewery, one that currently services not only this region, but also North Carolina (Looking to you GingerMeatloaf and Jack) and soon Maryland and DC.

The brewery has a vast offering of beers – and I am happy to note, only TWO IPAs*.  They also have a full sized Restaurant, with a large deck and Beer Garden…of which I hope to visit soon.  I am sure Debi will be interested in their Barleywine.

Legend Brown Ale Review

  • Legend Brown AleSource – Poured from Tap
  • Alcohol Content – 6%
  • Appearance- In the spirit of full disclosure, it took me a few minutes after the pour to snap this picture…so I wanted to say the head actually held up well, forming a nice, tightly latticed foam around the top of the glass.  The color was the classic nut brown, with a slightly cloudy hint to the liquid.
  • Nose - Mild Coco Powder and Hazelnut, with a hint of alcohol in the background.
  • Taste – Sweet and a moderate amount of front end malt.  With only a touch of pine and citrus, this is not the beer for Hopheads out there.  Caramel and Nuts play through, and the finish works well with the nose to bring out the Coco again.

Overall- I found this beer to be comparable to Newcastle, and very refreshing.  As a local offering, I could see myself ordering this….and since it seems to be everywhere in RVa, its an exciting change from CoMO (where InBev reigns).  A very good “Working Man’s Beer” that I wouldn’t be ashamed to break out a BBQ.  If I were to define it by one word, I would say SOLID.

I give Legend Brown Ale – 3.5 out of 5 Stars. 

If the rest of the local brews in RVa are anything like this….I am in for a fun ride.

Cheers -


Beer for Breakfast?

I know 44Stone does a PBR Ketchup (which is fantastic BTW) – but maybe they need to add this to their Sunday Brunch.

Dave & Mark – What do you think?


Guinness Potato Chips (Crisps)

GuinnessWhat has started as a picture from SaveOnBrew via Facebook have finally come to fruition.

When I initially saw the picture, I immediately pinged my buddy Rophic and asked him (he claims to be British) where I could find them.

It only took 5 minutes from the time it being forwarded that someone sent me this link.

Burts Vintage Guinness Potato Chips (Case of 20) from BCS (British Corner Shop).

Thanks to everyone involved – and I can’t wait until my case arrives.

Cheers -

If I had a Winery – THIS is how I would promote it.

  Most of you know – my brain is not in the right place.  Things that come out of my mouth, or actions I do, just seem to go into left field.

LogoThis is probably one of the reasons I could never own a business…because CHAOS would definitely ensue.

Well- I just want to take a minute to thank Journey’s End Winery….for proving that us like minded people can succeed.

You see – the fine folks at Journey’s End in South Africa decided that the perfect way to promote their new wine was to launch a Peugeot with a Trebuchet.  You know what….I am fine with this. 

Here is their Press Release and a video-

On April 2nd 2013 we embarked on the ambitious project of constructing a 60ft tall, 12.4 ton medieval trebuchet.

3 140ft tall Douglas Fir trees were carefully selected and felled at the Dudmaston Estate, nr Bridgnorth in Shropshire, as England endured a prolonged winter freeze.

The steelwork for our machine was carefully lazer cut on Monday 13th May at Marshbrook in Shropshire and works continue to have the machine ready for a trial launch on 23rd JUNE.

Once ready for assembly our trebuchet will be erected at Acton Round, Nr Bridgnorth, Shropshire and the launch will be celebrated by chucking the currently defunct organ out of the local church.

Following launch we will be taking down this magnificent engine and packing her into a 40ft container for shipment to the Journeys End Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Here she will hopefully enjoy a life in warmer climes and be utilised to raise funds for our local community of Sir Lowrys Pass Village.

They are even having a “Name the Trebuchet” contest

In the medieval times these magnificent machines of war were given nicknames. Names at the time  included ‘WARWOLF’, ‘GODS STONE THROWER’ and ‘BAD NEIGHBOUR’

Please send in any name suggestions to ...the Top 10 names Drawn on 31st September 2013 will each win a case of Trebuchet Syrah !

I am going on record with my vote - “Wine of Our Enemies”

This looked to be great fun, and hats off to the fine folks for adding some originality to marketing/advertising.


PS – if anyone knows where I can get a bottle in Richmond VA….email me at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bottle Opener Sunglasses Save the Day

As many of you know, I have been on a bit of a hiatus – as I have been prepping to move from Central Missouri to the Greater Richmond Virginia area. 

Its been a long and drawn out process – but that particular chapter closed late this week when James and I finally arrived.

Needless to say, there was much rejoicing.

Smokes and Booze had a new home – one with a bar built in.


So – what would be the first thing reviewed?

Interestingly – it won’t be an alcoholic beverage, but a tool.

You see, our household goods haven’t caught up yet…and, although my lovely wife had stocked the bar…we didn’t have a bottle opener.

Now, I have always been a resourceful cuss – but, I didnt want to damage furniture by slamming bottles open, and there were no 3-drawer chests available (my Army friends will get that reference).  Luckily, some time ago – SOMEONE had sent me a pair of sunglasses.

Bottle Opener SunglassesThis particular pair were kinda ugly, and the adhesive was so strong it was next to impossible remove.

I figured them to be a gag-gift, so into the box of beer stuff they went……until today.

Needless to say, these things came in Damn Handy and I was impressed that they opened over a 6-pack without showing any signs of wear.  Again, they are not stylish….but we are talking Bottle Opener Sunglasses here – not Gucci.

At $9.95 a pair HERE on Amazon – if you are Survivalist, Fisherman or just looking for something for Dad…you can’t go wrong.

I wish I could remember who it was that sent them to me (drop me an Email if it was you), because they became worth their weight in gold today.

Cheers – and look out RVa.

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