The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Jason Oliver

Jason Oliver on the Devils Backbone Sale


Yesterday, Anheuser-Busch announced it is acquiring Virginia’s largest brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, which will become part of Anheuser-Busch’s High End business unit. The High End, Anheuser-Busch says, was created “to provide its unique craft and European import brands with autonomy and support for growth, while fostering a collaborative environment for the brightest brewers in the beer community.”

We caught up with Jason Oliver, longtime Brewmaster of Devils Backbone, for his perspective on the sale and to confirm he plans to remain with the brewery.  “I am staying on and have no interest in going anywhere,” says Oliver.  “We were courted by several groups and I advocated for ABI (Anheuser-Busch) since the beginning.  I knew we would lose street cred but what we would gain outweighed that.”  One gain, Oliver says, is even better beer. “The beer will continue to improve and be better for this deal. It may seem weird to say that the beer will improve but that should be the goal of every brewery.  To think your beer is perfect is to assert it isn’t, in my opinion.”  How can the beer improve?  “The shelf life can always increase, the consistency can always be improved,” says Oliver.  As for other advantages: “We will have access to a network of both craft & macro breweries which have so much technical expertise,” Oliver says.  “And, we will get improved access to raw ingredients.”

In sum, says Oliver: “I’m looking forward to this chapter because I love to travel, learn, and share, and I will continue to have that opportunity.”


Five Finds on Friday: Jason Oliver


Photo by Heidi Crandall ©, Devils Backbone Brewing Company.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Jason Oliver, Brewmaster at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, which was named Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.  Next week be on the lookout for the latest batch of Dark Abby, their limited release Belgian Dubbel.  Also, on December 17 Devils Backbone is hosting a Mystery Dinner Theatre, where the entire pub dining area will serve as the “stage.”  Oliver’s picks:

1)  Lasagna at Beer Run.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s meat or vegetarian.  Every lasagna I’ve had at Beer Run is delicious, served smothered in bubbling cheese that’s hotter than the surface of the sun.  Let it cool for a few minutes and you’ll have some great comfort food, plus an awesome beer selection.”

2)  Shishito Peppers at Citizen Burger Bar.  “They are simple, straightforward, and delicious.  Flash fried peppers with an Asian inspired sauce that’s semi-sweet and salty.  Most of the time the peppers are mild but it’s a little like roulette because you may land on a hot one which can light you up.”

3)  Durban Spiced Chicken at The Shebeen.  “The Shebeen has a great relaxed feel to it and is unique for it’s South African inspired foods and atmosphere.  Durban Spiced Chicken is a peri-peri spiced chicken breast served with the South African staple mealie pap (think savory grits) and a sauce called “Voodoo” which is spicy and awesome.  I usually ask for additional side of Voodoo sauce.”

4) Mediterranean Salad with Wood-Roasted Salmon at Brixx Pizza. “Sometimes I want a cool refreshing dinner-sized salad and I have found few better.  The salad bowl is chilled, the lettuce crisp, the portion ample, with the blackened salmon hot, well seasoned, and straight from the wood fired oven.  Simple and pure.  A perfect salad when you want a light meal.”

5)  Cheeseburgers at Riverside Lunch.  “I was turned on to Riverside just a few months ago and they are really that good.  Riverside also has one of the best prices on local bottled craft beer in Charlottesville which makes the combination of awesome old school burgers and affordable beer a no brainer.”

%d bloggers like this: