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If you are someone who loves the taste of darker brews with a medium body and a semi-sweet finish, look no further than Vienna Lager by Devils Backbone.
This Vienna style lager is a smooth beer that’s not really heavy on the stomach. It’s got a gorgeous amber color due to the blend of four different imported malts and two other German hops to bring in plenty of balance.
This beer takes about five weeks to ferment to bring in the warm, light flavor delicately brewed with Vienna malt, Pilsner malt, dark Munich malt and CaraAmber malts. The hops to this brew include Northern Brewer hops and Saaz hops. If you’ve ever wanted to know more information about this brew, you’ve come to the right place!
We have a complete list of all the specifications on this brew and what to love most about Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Welcome to our Devils Backbone Vienna Lager Review.
Vienna Lager at a Glance
This medium-bodied brew is never heavy or bitter, but instead bold and light on the tongue with plenty of malts and hops to give you a full mouthfeel.
- Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
- Color: Amber
- Taste: Semisweet with plenty of hops and malts for warmth.
- Mouthfeel: Light and flavorful
- Type: Vienna style lager
About the Brand
Devils Backbone Brewing Company was founded by Steve and Heidi Crandall after they visited some local brewpubs during a skiing trip in the Alps. In 2016, the company was bought by Anheuser-Busch where the small-time brewery could start to make hundreds of more beers at lighting speed.
Devils Backbone has won many awards throughout their years and continue to experiment on new brews and maintaining the timeless recipes of some of their constant award winners. They are in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, near the Appalachian Mountains.
Prided themselves in their slow brewing process, Devils Backbone produces beer that are meant to be enjoyed and sipped over time to relax. Passion, integrity, being positive beer and driven adventure is some of the main core values for the brewery, which only enhances the sip and taste of each of their beers.
Helping the Community
To help make the world a better place, Devils Backbone Brewing Company started an initiative called the Heartland Initiative as a way of saying thank you to the environment.
They believe that the environment should be taken care of, just as a way of thanking it or paying the resources they use back, the brewing company has five pillars of core focus where they can serve the community through special programs and partnerships.
For example, at the end of 2020, the brewery’s goals were to invest $1M within their community with over 4,000 hours of volunteer work and community service. They also supported to achieve the goal of a 20 percent water reduction in barrel water to barrel of beer ratio.
Their pillars include being neighborly and partnering with as many charitable organizations and possible to focus on nonprofits throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. They open their sponsorships and donations forms up to local nonprofits on a regular basis.
They are also environmentally conscious by donating $1 per case of the Angel Weiss Trail to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and $1 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation per case of Striped Bass Pale Ale to help conserve the environment.
Keeping brewing their passion, Devils Backbone also supports their workers being positive beer and regular teach brewing classes to help generate future generations of sustainable beer brewers and keeping the industry going strong.
They also work deeply in recycling, using water reduction methods and solar energy projects to manage their impact reports. They have partnered with many local agencies, including the Rockbridge Area Relief Association, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Nelson County Pantry and Virginia Tech.
Where is Vienna Lager Brewed?
Vienna Lager is brewed in Nelson County, Virginia near the Appalachian Mountains at Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Aside from the Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone is known for their Premium Lager Backbone, Eight Point IPA, Sixteen Point Imperial IPA and Juicy Magic IPA.
There is so much to love about Vienna Lager, and here are some of the major standouts.
- Sweet aroma with hints of grain
- Light and crisp on the tongue
- Easy to drink at an 18 IBU
- Good for pairing with most foods since it’s not too heavy
- Light tea in the finish
- Good anytime beer
- Might have too much caramel taste for some
- May be a bit too earthy for some
- Not much foam head retention
- May not be hoppy enough for some
Bottling and Packaging/Branding
Vienna Lager is packaged in an amber bottle to match the gorgeous amber color of this brew. It has a twist cap at the top for easy opening and comes complete with a bright, vibrant label that depicts the heartland of Devi’s Backbone Brewing Company – the Appalachian Mountain range.
On the label itself, the note of “mild, toasted & caramel notes” lets the drinker know right off the bat that this brew has plenty of warm caramel and toasted mouthfeels to it. While some think there is too much caramel taste withing the brew, others commend the brand for adding in plenty of toasted flavor to blend out the sweetness of caramel.
The amber glass preserves the notes of toasted flavor and caramel so that the sun does not deplete any of these smooth beers, semisweet flavors and the aromas of hops.
While the variations of notes and tones throughout this beer are exquisitely combined, the basic ingredients of the Vienna Lager remain simple:
- Northern Brewer Hops
- Saaz Hops
- Vienna malt
- Pilsner malt
- Dark Munich Malt
- Dude amber malt
The infused flavors include warm toasted flavor like toasted bread and a caramel finish with moderate carbonation. This is a semi-sweet beer with a smooth medium body and a crisp clean finish.
Vienna Lager is a moderately medium bodied beer that isn’t high on the calories as a stout or darker beer would be. A 12-ounce pour will bring in 147 calories with 9 grams of carbs and 9 grams of sugar. This calorie breakdown would suggest that this brew is 100 percent carbs with no fat content.
While this isn’t an awful number of calories, if you are diet conscious, you might want to stick with a lighter beer that isn’t heavy on sugar. Due to the caramel and semi sweetness of this beer, the sugar content could be considered too high for some.
What Foods Does Vienna Lager Go With?
Since Vienna Lager is a medium bodied beer and has a semi sweet flavor to it, this makes it the perfect beer to pair with hearty, spicier foods such as stews, soups, and meat dishes. This beer would be best paired with Mexican food dishes, including dishes with higher spice contents with a base of chicken, sausage, and pork.
Due to the caramel tastes throughout the brew, many reviewers suggest making Vienna Lager your go-to holiday beer, including drinking it during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. The delicate caramel and sweetness to this beer make it a nice combination to pair with meat-based dishes or foods that contain a lot of spice.
Another great food combination includes cheeses, as there are plenty of cheeses that will pair well with a meltier, sweeter brew, including sheep’s milk cheeses and cheeses that are infused with herbs, onions, or other aromatics such as dill, wine, and acidity.
How to Pour Vienna Lager
To fully appreciate the notes of toasted flavor and light caramel flavors, Vienna Lager should be poured in a way that will bring out all its natural flavors. The following steps will allow you to get the most out of your beer and turn it into the ultimate multisensory delight.
Since lagers are less carbonated than pilsners or wheat beers, you can pour your Vienna Lager into your glass relatively quickly. Hold your glass at a 45-degree angle and stick the tip of the bottle into the glass. You are going to want to point your bottle tip toward the side of the glass.
Pour in your beer, focusing on hitting the wall of your glass, relatively quickly. You will need a fast and steady stream to run down the side of your glass. No need to pause and wait for the head, as your lager is less carbonated and won’t produce a thick, foamy head like a stout.
You can then start to straighten out your glass when it’s about two-thirds of the way full to create a clean head off the top. This head will mostly be foam, and it shouldn’t last for very long, maybe just a few minutes. Let the foam setting and then you are free to enjoy your lager.
How is this Kind of Lager Made?
Devils Backbone Vienna Lager is slowly brewed with hops of Saaz, Northern Brewer, and plenty of malts including Pilsner, Vienna, Dark Munich, and CaraAmber malts to bring in the toasted flavor and warm caramel finish. Water and yeast are also added to include the effervescent flavors and crisp mouthfeel that you get after each sip.
This type of brew is made by using a bottom-fermenting strain of yeast held at a much cooler temperature. Ales are typically brewed with a top-fermenting yeast that needs warmer temperatures, just to give a comparison of lagers that differ from ales.
Simply put, Vienna Lager is made slowly using a process of cool fermentation followed by allowing the brew to mature in old storage.
Similar Alternatives to Vienna Lager
Devils Backbone Brewing Company makes several award-winning beers, including a healthy mix of IPAs and lagers that are equally delicious as Vienna Lagers. Here is a rundown of some Devils Backbone’s staple beer along with some outstanding batches and reserves.
Premium Lager Backbone
This is a crisp beer that has a light finish that uses 33 percent less water which means it is 33 percent fresher. This is a crisp, freshly smooth lager that contains two-row malts and hops of Palisade, Opal, and Traditional hops. Its gold color gives you a 4.5 percent alcohol content for easy drinking.
Eight Point IPA
Eight Point IPA is the very first beer that was brewed at Devils Backbone facility and it has a delightfully hoppy presence but is definitely easier to drink than most IPAs. It has a golden medium-bodied makeup brewed with four different malts and an American hop variety of Simcoe, Centennial, Comet, Amarillo, and Citrus.
Juicy Magic IPA
With a brew that boasts you can taste its colors; Juicy Magic IPA is a wonderful eclectic parade on the palate. This IPA strays far from your usual IPAs with flavors of apple, tangerine, mango, and pineapple as the juices are brewed into the current beer. A true flavor bomb, this beer is great for enjoying on hotter days.
Gold Leaf Lager
The gorgeous golden lager, Gold Leaf Lager takes five weeks to brew in traditional German-style lager brewing. This brew is made of 100 percent malted barley with four European malts that have been seasoned with a touch of three hops. It’s not overly hoppy or dark, so you can easily enjoy it any time of the year.
This black lager brings the traditional old-world style of beer into the modern world as it takes plenty of time to achieve the roasted and toasted malt flavors. This is a medium to light body beer despite its black finish. It has a crisp finish with six imported malts and two European hop varieties. This is the multi-award-winning brew that Devils Backbone is proud of.
Munchen on Pumpkin
A perfect brew for the upcoming fall season, Munchen on Pumpkin is a pumpkin lager that brings in all the flavors of a traditional lager that is just perfect for the upcoming cooler weather.
This lager is brewed with a touch of pumpkin and spice, although this is not a pumpkin spice beer, more like you can tell there are pumpkin notes in the background while you drink it.
A lager specially made for Oktoberfest celebrations, O’Fest is inspired by all things German. This is a medium-bodied, golden lager that tastes malty and smooth with some notes of breadiness. This is a contemporary blend of malts and hops which gives it its naturally smooth taste and golden color.
Loved by the Sun
If summer beer is your thing, then look no further than Loved by the Sun peach-mango beer. This beer is ideal for enjoying on the beach due to its sweet, fruity perfection. It’s lower in calories and bursting with fruit juice so you can feel good about drinking it all day long.
Question: How do you Get Vienna Lager?
Answer: You can pick up Devils Backbone’s Vienna Lager at most liquor stores in bottles. If you are close to their taproom, you can also try beer on tap, as this is a regular pour that is popular within the community. Add local bars in your area may also have it on rotation within their taps, you would just need to check that out in advance.
Question: Is Vienna Lager a Dark Lager?
Answer: No. This is a medium-bodied lager with a semi-sweet taste that is delicate on the tongue. You can easily enjoy this beer and not feel overfull or bloated since there are not so many hops, but more of a malted flavor.
Question: What Alcohol Percentage is Vienna Lager?
Answer: Vienna Lager comes in up to 5.2% alcohol content. Its amber color makes this a semi-sweet beer that is lighter on the tongue than heavy.
Devils Backbone’s Vienna Lager is an ideal beer to drink on pretty much any occasion, but due to the toasted flavor and caramel flavors within the beer, most people prefer to drink this beer in the evenings or around the holidays as this makes a perfect cold- weather beer to share with family and friends.
You can pretty much pair this beer with just about any kind of food, but the flavors will enhance meat forward dishes such as beef and pork roasts, spicier foods such as Mexican cuisine or Indian foods, spiced soups and stews, or anything you’d traditionally eat around the holidays for big family meals.
Overall, Vienna Lager is quite the taste experience that is easy to enjoy, and the toasted caramel flavor will not let you down no matter what time of year it is. Plus, with lower alcohol content, it won’t fill you up or make you feel a bit more toasted than you want to be. It’s an easy brew to sip in moderation with friends.
For more awesome reviews of delicious lagers, check out our guide to Stella Artois Solstice!