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Devils Backbone Brewmaster Jason Oliver Talks Danzig

94 Rating
Devils Backbone brewmaster Jason Oliver
Devils Backbone brewmaster Jason Oliver

We spoke with the Devils Backbone Brewing Co. brewmaster Jason Oliver about Danzig.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I came up with the recipe during our first full year of operations. We’ve brewed it every year at Basecamp Brewpub.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I love the notes of coffee, baker’s chocolate, licorice and burnt sugar. It’s a combination of what I call “dark flavors” with a dangerous, easy lager drinkability to it. I enjoy the history of Baltic Porters and the notion that it’s a hybrid of several different approaches. It blends aspects of strong, dark, English-style beers with the lager brewing traditions of Europe. It’s kind of a blend between a black ale and a bock bier, which is a strong lager. I also like the fact it can be both savored like a strong beer but also drunk almost like an average strength beer. It’s very versatile.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
The name Danzig refers to the German spelling & name of the Baltic port city of Gdansk in Poland. 

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
If the island was in the Baltic Sea!

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Strong, black, rich, smooth lager with coffee, cocoa, & caramel notes.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
My mother’s family is ethnically Ukrainian and until recently with the rediscovery of a few lost beer styles, like Gratzer, Baltic Porters were the only real Eastern European beer style, and personal to me. While my family's origins are not on the Baltic, strong lager-based Porters were & are available throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics. I’ve brewed Baltic Porters at a total of four breweries I’ve worked at so far. Danzig is sort of the culmination of all the previous efforts and hasn’t changed much in the last 9 years at Devils Backbone. 

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Danzig is strong enough to hold up to desserts, especially chocolate-based, but also not so large to overwhelm meat dishes. German or Polish sausage and pork dishes would be perfect. Sharp cheddar cheese and crackers (rye Triscuits are my fav) with a dry sausage (like salami or summer sausage) would be a good snack with Danzig.

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