All hopped up

Brewmaster Jason Oliver thinks his recent win at the 2010 World Beer Cup is “pretty cool,” but Restaurantarama suspects he’s being a bit modest. Earlier this month, Oliver earned Devils Backbone the honor of Champion Brewery and Brewmaster Small Brewpub, in addition to bronze medals for four of the brewery’s beers. 

What does World Beer Cup Champion and Devils Backbone brewmaster Jason Oliver say Nelson County has that makes it a notable craft brewing center? “It must be the water!” 

Competition at the World Cup, known as the “Olympics of Beer,” was fierce: More than 600 breweries from 44 countries competed in the event and, says Oliver, even more in the “Small Brewpub” category. He tells us there are more brewpubs nowadays than any other type of brewery, so judges had a tough choice.

The Devils Backbone win, combined with the silver cup Blue Mountain Brewery won for its Rockfish Wheat beer, has secured Nelson County’s place on the map. Says Maureen Kelley of Nelson County Tourism, Virginia is now regarded as a craft brewing center. “It’s been amazing,” she says, “the amount of interest as well as activity.”

Aside from all the attention on Nelson, Oliver says he’s getting a special perk: Because of the win, his German malt supplier has offered to fly him over in November. Last year, Oliver tells us, the supplier sent him a pair of red overalls in celebration of his win in a different competition. This year’s gift is an upgrade. 

Ultimately though, the special honors from the competition are the biggest proof of Nelson County’s success: Says the brewmaster, “We’re makin’ some quality beer out here.”  

Hot Dogs: 101

You have to have music playing. That’s what Tom Jakubowski says is the first thing they teach you in hot dog school. And, says the What Up Dog owner, that’s something he’ll be teaching in his upcoming two-day class at the Omni.

Hot Dog Cart Academy will give aspiring cart owners the opportunity to learn about the business, including what equipment to use and products to sell. Students will even get to run a cart to get a taste of the hot dog biz first-hand. 

Jakubowski attended Hot Dog University prior to opening his own business, located at Third Street on the Downtown Mall, but says that’s currently the only school for aspiring hot dog cart owners. Says Jakubowski, “I’ve decided to give ‘em some competition!” 

The website isn’t up and running yet, but check back at

Time to eat the donuts

Looks like the Corner can expect a few tasty treats in the coming months. A Dunkin’ Donuts franchise will be moving in to the former Rita’s Ice space, next to College Inn. Says an employee of the Wilco on Pantops, where a DD station is located, the Corner spot will be exclusively a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise. “It’ll be a full-service restaurant,” she says. If by full service you mean cruller and coffee and the like.


Restaurantarama would like to apologize to Andy McClure for incorrectly stating, in the April 13 edition, that The Biltmore is closed. The Corner restaurant is, in fact, open, and has been since last summer when McClure purchased and renovated it. 


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