Brewed to withstand long voyages over the Baltic Sea, Baltic porters tend to be robust versions of the easily-quaffed, lighter versions of the style. At the 2018 World Beer Cup, which is held every two years and includes brewers from six continents, Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Danzig took home the bronze medal in the Baltic Porter category.
This isn’t the first award to go to the Lexington, Virginia brewery. Far from it, in fact.
In the spring of 2016, Anheuser Busch added Devils Backbone to it’s High End portfolio. At that time, Devil’s Backbone was already one of Virginia’s most successful and popular breweries, with the hardware to back up its notoriety. It won the 2014 Great American Beer Festival Mid-Size Brewery & Brew Team; earned the 2012 and 2013 Small Brewing Company & Small Brewing Company Brew Team; was named the 2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery; took home the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Best of Show medals in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In short, brewing acumen is not something Devils Backbone lacks.
A well-made Baltic porter should be big enough to sustain the long voyage oversea—or the short one from your fridge to your couch.”
Danzig supports that sentiment. The beer pours black with minimal head. It’s earthy and the Vienna malt creates a creaminess that sets this Baltic porter apart from many others. The best part of this beer is the bottom third. When the beer warms, there’s a more pronounced mingling of ingredients. Out comes notes of bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and a slight sweetness. It’s a fairly robust beer at 8%, but the alcohol is well hidden. After all, a Baltic porter is a treat. It’s meant to be savored, considered and deconstructed.
It’s no surprise that this beer in considered one of the top three beers in its category. A well-made Baltic porter should be big enough to sustain the long voyage oversea—or the short one from your fridge to your couch—but nuanced and balanced enough to warrant a conversation in the immediacy. This is a beer worthy of its accolades.