Among my New Beer Resolutions were that I was going to get a bit further outside the I-95/495 Beltway which defines “NOVA” as there are some damn fine breweries catching on out there – I defined the Route 28 corridor as linking two hot spots in Ashburn and Manassas, and vowed to get some reviews done out there…including bringing home a few sixtels for the new kegerator. Well, one of the places I wanted to bring a keg home from is Lost Rhino, so even though they didn’t have the one I specifically wanted (Final Glide Hefeweizen) I was going to be in their neck of the woods right around when my first keg was about to kick. That’s a good of an excuse as any to try a few beers and bring a whole bunch of it home!
Friday Night Flight: Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Ashburn, VA) @LostRhino
Total Beers: 5
Featured Style: “Do you have this in a keg?”
It turned out that Lost Rhino had 6 beers available in a sixtel, but with one being their gigantic winter warmer (Rhinoel), I had to nix that one from the list to ensure I didn’t wake up in a haze a few weeks from now. The five that were left were fairly varied, and the staff and other customers made it clear which they thought would be my selection.
Flight: Meridian Kolsch, New River Pale Ale, Rhino Chasers Pilsner, Face Plant IPA, Tmavy Dark Czech Lager
Meridian – Hints of lemon in the nose followed by a surprisingly mellow hop profile and clean finish. After a few sips you do get a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste, but it’s more of a slow build that easily fades into the background. A bit of cloudiness suggested some yeast in suspension, but if there was any it didn’t stand out among the other crisp elements. 7.5 of 10.
New River – I had high hopes for this one from an earlier visit (early as in predates VBR!) You can easily pick up some varied citrus notes throughout, with a little bit of pine as well. The hops express themselves in the body but they’re more balanced as you finish – more of a low 20s IBU than a mid 30s. A very mild aftertaste makes this a good happy hour beer, for sure. 7.0 of 10.
Rhino Chasers – I actually covered this in an earlier review, but wanted to see how it stacked up against the other possibilities. It starts out acidic and zesty but it’s hard to escape some cloying hops on the finish. Grassy elements on the nose keep things interesting but the 45 IBU are very evident – this is a bold pilsner to say the least. 6.5 of 10.
Face Plant – This is the kind of IPA that most people like, but it just misses the mark for me. Very floral on the finish with a sweet essence on the nose – not quite honey but a “tea additive” if that makes sense. Despite the 65 IBU it clings less than the Pilsner, but it’s just a little bit too full-bodied for this occasion. 5.0 of 10.
Tmavy – A wonderfull complex beer with a heavy malt flourish on the nose with some oak elements, and the malts continuing into the body. More caramel than toffee, this could be a dead ringer for an amber lager, but with more of a mahogany than copper color. Yet it’s not quite an amber with that oaky presence suggesting rye as much as roasted malts. 8.5 of 10.
Lost Rhino continues to maintain an excellent menu (including on the reverse with some decent pub grub!) I’ll definitely make a longer trip at some point to flesh out all the different flavors, but this trip was very much tailored to choosing a keg to bring home. If you can’t guess, the Tmavy is the current staff favorite and as much as I thought it was the best of the 5 I tasted, I couldn’t quite settle on it for my new sixtel. To me, the Meridian was more refreshing and also more likely for a refill during a sports or gaming session. I have at most 5-6 pints left in the kegerator, so you can be my new Kolsch will be getting some use this weekend!
Get out and try: Meridian Kolsch, Tmavy Dark Czech Lager