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Devil’s Backbone unveils first UVa collegiate-licensed IPA

Whether you prefer to play up contrasts or complementary flavors when pairing beers with foods, a new University of Virginia-licensed beer is ready for watching the Cavs on the court or Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII.

The secret to creating Hoo Rah Ray Juicy Wheat IPA, the only UVa collegiate-licensed IPA on the market, was to avoid gimmicks, said Hayes Humphreys, chief operating officer and general manager at Devils Backbone Brewing Company.

“We made the best beer we could make,” Humphreys said. The result has a “pillowy” feel and a fruitiness that evokes pineapple and guava.

Look for a malt blend of pilsner, malted white wheat, unmalted white wheat and maltodextrin, plus a combination of Bravo, El Dorado and Mosaic hops that ditches bitterness.

“The beer style IPA has been rising in popularity. Traditionally, that meant you had a more bitter beer,” Humphreys said. “Either you liked IPAs, or you didn’t. It was like drinking a pine tree. There are now hops that offer bright florals naturally.”

Adding wheat to the recipe ensures a pleasant, drinkable brew, he said.

“Almost every beer is made with a base of malted barley,” Humphreys said. “The wheat adds a lot to the mouth feel and the body of the beer.”

Humphreys offered some recommendations for pairing Hoo Rah Ray with foods to serve in your Super Bowl spread.

“A really good contrast would have big flavors,” he said. “I’d pick wings, which would be a great game food. I would like a Korean barbecue wing with some sweetness along with spice.”

If you’d prefer a complementary pairing with Hoo Rah Ray, a salad including grapefruit “would emphasize those fruity flavors without competing,” Humphreys said.

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