One of the joys of having a kegerator of delicious, cold, fresh Virginia craft beer is that as the beer ages and mellows out a bit, the flavor profile evolves from the 1st to the 10th, 20th, even 40th beer. Well, unless you’re hosting an intergalactic kegger, and then I imagine they’ll all taste pretty similar (and you’ll be tapped out inside of an hour). The first two kegs I went through didn’t see this sort of change, but the current round (which also includes the most excellent Forge Saison/Farmhouse Ale) has definitely pulled off a few parlor tricks on my taste buds.
Meridian Kolsch, Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Ashburn, VA) – @LostRhino
Kolsch, ABV 5%, IBU 25
Presentation: Draught pour into a pint glass.
Appearance: A slightly cloudy lager, approaching goldenrod. Not quite the yellow straw typical to this genre, but I do like my beers on the unfiltered side. A minor amount of head won’t require any shenanigans to be rid of.
Taste: The nose gives off a pleasant, slightly buttery albeit bitter aroma. A healthy dose of crisp carbonation pairs well with a somewhat elevated hop profile matching the nose. This beer won’t exactly bludgeon you with flavors but it provides a great base to pair with all manner of foods…or, if you’re feeling up to it, cooking with it as we did! A standard lager finish lingers for about half a minute. I would definitely give the writers at the Lost Rhino site some props, as this beer really does hit the spot equally well after mowing the grass on a humid day or just from coming home with a case of the Mondays.
ABV/IBU: The bitterness moves beyond a typical Lager towards a Pilsner. That’s not exactly standard of the style (which is often more moderate than both of those varieties) but does give some extra heft.
Overall: When I first went to pick out a keg from Lost Rhino about three months ago, I definitely was not leaning towards this variety of beer. I was replacing a Pale Ale but the available offerings ranged from a Winter Warmer to a Dark Czech Lager. And then there was this little guy. Not the most flavorful, nor the most bite, but it tested very high on the “down the hatch” scale. Sipping just now on the last output from the keg for this review, it’s been hard to deny the versatility of this beer. It’s been a hit with a number of visitors, rocked out the beer bread recipe, and has only made it this long to review just so I could see what was next from it. If you’re looking for a solid beer for any occasion (but particularly for some outdoor deck/grilling action), the Meridian Kolsch is a great place to start.