Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival

Where in the World - Southeast United States

A Celebration of Music & Brews

BrewRidgeTrail2010Devil's Backbone Brewing Co., near Wintergreen Resort in Virginia, hosted the Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival on Saturday, August 21, 2010, featuring the brews of four local Virginia breweries and music on two stages.

For $1.50/ticket, guests could taste 4 ounces of any of the 15 microbrews; a $5 ticket bought a full 16-ounce pour. Starr Hill Brewery presented their Festive, Northern Lights, The Love, and the D.I.P.A. Double IPA (GABF Multiple Medal Winner, 1999-2009 and 2010 Word Beer Cup Medal Winner). Blue Mountain Brewery offered their Full Nelson Pale Ale, Rockfish Wheat, Blue Reserve Belgian Tripel, and Kolsch 151 (Word Beer Cup Medal Winner 2010). South Street Brewery presented their JP Ale, Satan's Pony Amber Ale, and Hefeweizen (GABF Medal Winner 2000). Devil's Backbone poured the Eight Point IPA, Summer Haze, Tommy Two Fist Export Lager, and Vienna Lager (2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster Small Beerpub, World Beer Cup Multiple Medal Winner 2010, and GABF Multiple Medal Winner 2009). The festival also featured the cider of Albemarle CiderWorks.

The big pour star of the day was the Brew Ridge Trail Collaboration Ale, a small-batch Black IPA, crafted by the four local breweries.

Choosing the tastings from the 15 microbrews was made easier by the fact that I'd tasted many of the local brews before. Starr Hill's Northern Lights and The Love and Blue Mountain's Full Nelson are three memorable beers that I'm always happy to enjoy again, though none has the hop bitterness that I prefer. At the festival, I sampled Devil's Backbone's Tommy Two Fist, a fine lager, and Eight Point IPA, a medium-bodied beer with a full hop flavor. I also sampled the Collaboration Ale, which had the pleasing body and smoothness of a stout complemented by a subtle hop bite. Created from five types of malt and four types of hop, it had a chocolate-coffee creaminess. I also sampled Starr Hill's D.I.P.A. - and went back for more for my full pour. The double IPA packs a bitter hop punch that pleases even a hard core hop head like me.

Although the event featured some food vendors, a hearty meal was just beside the main music stage at Devil's Backbone Brewing Co. restaurant. Besides having their beers on tap, the restaurant serves a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts. The outside patio has a beautiful view of the nearby mountains. 

DevilsBackboneSunsetThe setting for the festival was phenomenal, situated in a valley surrounded by Blue Ridge mountain peaks. We took a crowd break between dinner and bands, opened the tailgate, and watched the sun set over the ridges. Devil's Backbone is located near Wintergreen Resort, between Charlottesville, Staunton, Lexington, and Lynchburg, not too awfully far from Roanoke, Blacksburg, Harrisonburg or Richmond - or at least, worth the drive. The brewpub has musicians performing on a regular basis, so if you enjoy a little rhythm with your rye, beat with your beer, or lilts with your lager, Devil's Backbone has it all. 

The feature band for the Brew Ridge Music Festival was Dumpstaphunk from New Orleans, founded by Ivan Neville and Ian Neville, sons of Aaron Neville and Art Neville, respectively. The band was voted "New Orleans Best Funk Band" in 2007 by both Offbeat Magazine and Gambit Weekly. They have performed at some of the nation's largest music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Voodoo Fest, 10,000 Lakes, and High Sierra.

Other acts were Adrian Duke Project, William Walter & Co, and Devon Allman's Honeytribe, Rogan Brothers Band, Jesse Chong Band, Turbine, and Kings of Belmont. The ex-marching-band mother in me particularly enjoyed the music of Elby Brass from Fredericksburg (video below), a baker's dozen of high-energy brass and percussion. 


For more about the breweries, visit their web sites:

Blue Mountain Brewery

Devil's Backbone Brewing Co.

South Street Brewery

Starr Hill Brewery

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