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Devils Backbone Gold Leaf Lager

Where in Town: S&S Liquors, 6925 4th St. NW

Price: $11.99/six-pack

Deal with the Devil

Since it opened in 2008, Devils Backbone, situated along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, Va., has won an unprecedented 30 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, the two top competitions in beer. With critical acclaim has come popularity and rapid growth, including expansion from a small brewpub to a 15,000-square-foot facility in 2012. Between the two locations, brewmaster Jason Oliver has pumped out more than 50 kinds of beer. The most successful are his German-style lagers, likely due to the six years he spent brewing at Gordon Biersch in D.C. Top among these are his Vienna Lager and Gold Leaf Lager.

Go for the Gold

I could tell you about the hint of lemon and grass in its nose, how its taste brings to mind crusty, fresh-baked bread drizzled with honey, or perhaps the subtly peppery, crisp finish. But Gold Leaf isn’t the kind of beer you analyze. It looks, smells, and tastes like “beer.” Pour it into a glass and squint, swirl, and sniff if you like, but drinking it straight from the can with a couple slices of pizza is my recommendation. At just 4.5 percent alcohol, Gold Leaf goes down easily and guilt-free. Finding it is simple, too: Nearly any beer shop and most grocery stores have six-packs. More into the hard stuff? Don’t worry. Devils Backbone is building a distillery in Roseland, Va., and will soon have gin, rum, whiskey, and other craft spirits.

Photo by Tammy Tuck