As the craft brew scene continues to explode, it’s one of the best times to be a beer lover. Gone are the days where every restaurant, bar, and tailgate featured little more than a choice between your “favorite” of the light macros (if we’re keeping score, Coors Light, please!) Around the DC metro area, the good watering holes embraced the idea of adding additional taps to feature rotating micro brews, and as capacity has increased, many of the favorite local brews have evolved into mainstays. Which is how we found ourselves at Dogwood Tavern’s rooftop bar in Falls Church this past Friday. While discussing their current selection of seasonal and featured micros, the bartender mentioned to Ben and I that the general manager there was looking to shake up the selection with a heavier emphasis on local rather than national. Being the beer snob in training that he is, Ben chided their continued inclusion of certain light macros on the draught list, to which the bartender lamented that because of happy hours and unrefined palates, certain beers will never die. If you’re always on the lookout for craft beer at watering holes around here, though, you’ll almost always find our featured beer on the menu.
Chasers Pilsner, Lost Rhino Brewing Company – @LostRhino (Ashburn, VA)
Bohemian Pilsner, ABV 5.6%, IBU 45
Presentation: Draft pour into plastic cup.
Appearance: Cloudy, goldenrod hue. Little head and body. It’s unusually dark for a Pilsner, but then again what’s ever normal (aka boring) in the craft beer world? Either way, absolutely gorgeous on a sunny day.
Taste: This genre is often noticed for its crisp, unblemished finish. You rarely find additional flavors in a pilsner – it’s all about technique. Lost Rhino Chasers is no exception, with a bit of added dry hop on the smooth nose that carries all the way through.
ABV/IBU: This Pilsner packs a bit of a punch, as that 45 IBU makes itself felt early and often. Lost Rhino stuck with traditional malts but snuck in some unusual hops which they say is meant to make the beer “spicy.” Instead, it’s a little more dry and bitter than you’d find in most other beers in this category. The ABV is right where you’d want it for a warm weather beer, though, and never feels overpowering.
Overall: Pilsners are a hard category to judge. The same brewing techniques that set them apart from other styles make it difficult to make any one Pilsner stand out from the crowd (unless you actually count Miller Lite as a “Pilsner,” and then it’s easy to find the bottom of the barrel…) But Lost Rhino is getting some attention with this one, and deservedly so. The ingredients don’t quite mesh as well as they might, but those additional dry hops do make you notice the extra attention Lost Rhino has put into a beer that’s becoming commonplace around DC and Northern Virginia. You definitely won’t go wrong with the solid Chasers Pilsner, but with a bite like that it’s better at the end of an evening than the beginning.