Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager
As the age-old tradition goes, when the parents come to town, you have them treat you to dinner at places that are a bit (or a lot) out of your price range. I personally do not think this pasttime will ever fade, as my family loves exploring new places and sampling interesting eats, and (to be perfectly honest) I am always willing to let someone else pick up the check. As the fam visited the District this past weekend, I, of course, packed our itinerary with delicious prospects from new and old favorite restaurants. One particular gem is The Pig on 14th Street. As a member of the EatWell family, The Pig specializes in a more local, sustainable, and – when possible – farm-to-table approach to food. Beyond the merits of its laudable approach to sourcing ingredients, this place just makes a lot of very tasty, pork-filled dishes.
Our pig feast featured dishes of succulent boar paired with homemade pasta, devastatingly tender pork cheeks atop a savory bed of grits, and a “Little Pig” charcuterie board graced with multiple preparations of ham and salami (along with a tremendous mustard, house made pickles, and an assortment other little treats). Fully aware of the pork-laden cornucopia that was about to grace my dinner table, I was faced with a vital decision: what beer will pair well with the salty, and at time semi-sweetness, of this meal? Thankfully, The Pig’s beer list was short (in a good way) and manageable for my weary (we had attended a wine festival earlier that day, as one does) and hungry self.
I resisted my usual urge to order the absolute hoppiest beer on the menu, reminding myself that such serious bitter and citrus may be too much for my palate with the impending cascade of the salty pork dishes. After perusing the beer offerings, and keeping in step with the local theme, I opted for a Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager. Me, order a lager? Preposterous! Though I went against my usual inclinations for Imperials and Doubles, it was for the best in many ways. The beer was light and easy to enjoy alongside my rather dense dinner, and the abv was perfect (I was a bit worn from that wine fest, and quite needed a respite from anything too potent).
Vienna Lager is an American Style Lager, it is an easy drinker and pairs well with saltier and heavier foods. It is a good accompaniment beer: not meant to be the star of any occasion, but a good companion to take along for the ride. As a lager tends to do, it offers that usual malty breadiness but also presents a surprisingly sweet tinge of light fruit and hops at the finish. This little taste of hops quenched my thirst and my customary craving of IPAs. This beer has been awarded numerous prizes at GABF and the World Beer Cup, and without surprise, as it is a refreshing addition to the usual repertoire of (sometimes humdrum) lagers. So if you find yourself in Washington, DC, I highly recommend heading down to The Pig and throwing back a few Vienna Lagers alongside a smorgasbord of porky delights.