We love a good new craft beer to add to our list. So, you can only imagine how excited we were when we got invited to the Beer Dinner with Devils Backbone Brewing Company at Barrel on High last week! This Virginia Heartland based brewery has officially expanded into our good old Midwestern state. We were extra lucky and got to share our table with the Brewmaster, Jason Oliver, the lovely Amy from The Campfire Experience and Pat from Pat’s Pints.
Every great dinner starts off with a tasty cocktail. Our friends at Karate Cowboy shared some of their tasty Ginger Mint liquor mixed with some other wonderful ingredients. The Barrel On The Devils Back was refreshing, sweet and the perfect beverage to kick off the evening. I think we’ve found our next cocktail at home. Just make sure you’ve got some Life Support on hand.
Once we got our cocktails out of the way, it was on to the 5-course dinner. Yes, five full courses. Heavenly. We didn’t know the menu ahead of time and we were a little nervous. We both have a few picky tendencies sometimes so I was concerned there would be something we wouldn’t eat. Not a problem here! The crew from Devils Backbone and the Chef from Barrel on High paired everything together perfectly.
Not only were we lucky enough to sit next to Jason, the Brewmaster; the founder and owner of Devils Backbone, Steve Crandall also made a special appearance at the event. Their passion and excitement for their craft is obvious and I’m so glad we got to listen. We only got a taste of the Devils Backbone story but were inspired enough to want to make the 6 hour trek to Virginia! They have two locations, the Outpost Brewery & Tap Room and the Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows. You can stay onsite at the Meadows in some gorgeous lodges which were built by the owner (according to the Brewmaster).
Okay, so full disclosure. We were nestled comfortably at a table in the back with some wonderful company. Which is great for conversation, not so much for beautiful pictures. These images do NOT do justice to the beautiful dishes the Chef of Barrel on High created for us. Our first course was a sweet, grilled scallop bahn mi slider with pickled veggies and sriracha mayo. It was light, perfect for Spring and paired wonderfully with the Award Winning Vienna Lager.
Next up was a Spring Salad with pears, feta, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. This reminded us of our Bourbon Pear Salad we made for our Crimson Cup event last fall. I loved the Pear Lager that went alongside the salad. I don’t really love Lambics or Ciders because I think they are too sweet. This was so delicious and just vaguely pear-like. I may have had more than one sample.
OH MY WORD. These brussels sprouts. I can’t even talk about how GOOD they are. So, I don’t eat pork but I did eat one of these deep fried smidgens of pork belly because it just looked fantastic. The sprouts and pork belly are deep fried, tossed in thai chili sauced and topped with salt cured egg yolk from Copia Farms. I can’t make this up. Best part? They are on their regular menu at Barrel on High! They paired these with the 8 Point IPA which came along with a wonderful namesake story about two 8 point bucks.
Now, this dish can and should be recreated at home. Espresso rubbed steak with a Rambling House root beer demi-glace on top of some super horseradish-y potatoes. This dish was actually inspired by a menu item that used to be at the Devils Backbone Brewery. Yet another reason to get to Virginia, stat. The Black Lager paired with this steak was actually a super approachable dark beer. Typically, I don’t drink my beer with my food and this dish totally changed my mind about that technique. When you choose the right dish and drink, the end result is a super smooth meal that you’ll want to enjoy over and over again.
By this point, I had had about 6 or 7 “samples” of beer and a cocktail so I dug into this ice cream sandwich embarrassingly quick. The civilized people around me used a fork and knife. Whoops. But, honestly, it was so good. I actually questioned the Chef a few times as to whether or not everything was homemade because it was just so seamless and perfect. Two double stout cookies sandwiched in between a homemade vanilla ice cream and then dipped and drizzled with chocolate Cocoa Bear sauce. UNREAL.
The dessert was paired with Devils Backbone’s Cocoa Bear, which is only available on draft. I did actually enjoy this beer but it’s definitely a slowly sippable one. I drank it like I imagine you are supposed to drink $200 scotch.
Lucky for us, we don’t have to head to Virginia to get these brews! Your favorite bars like Barrel on High, Short North Pint House and King Avenue Five are all featuring a selection on tap. I even think I saw a few at Whole Foods Market in Upper Arlington. Soon, they will start selling by the can and bottle. Hopefully, at our favorite spot, Kenny Road Market. But, if you are in the mood for a road trip, make sure to check their event calendar to see what fun thing they have going on that week.