Tuesday, November 5th was not only election day, but also a HOWL tour-and-tasting at Lost Rhino brewpub in Ashburn. We had about 25 members attend the tour and shared one of their expanded tasting rooms with a Little League team and their thirsty parents . What great coaches, to take the little leaguers to a brewpub, although Lost Rhino makes a mean Root Beer for the kids as well!
Their head brewer, Favio Garcia, pulled pitchers of a few beers for us try — notably their GABF Gold-winning “Rhinofest” Oktoberfest beer and a bourbon-barrel aged Belgian Dark Strong called “Lost Hog”. It was clear to see why Rhinofest took gold! A rich, pronounced malty base with subtle hop bitterness and flavor in a deep amber glass of perfection topped with a frothy cream head. The pitcher didn’t last very long at all and at least one member left with a black eye fighting for the last drop from the pitcher!
The Lost Hog was a Belgian dubbel style ale with dark translucent brown hues and flavors which in raisin, vanilla, and carmel. The hops remained in the background, contributing to a mild bitterness only. If you like dubbels, this is a big beer for you!
Following these special samples, most members bellied up the bar to sample the other great brews on tap that night. Many raved about the Holy Brew Brown, the Belgian-style brown ale, the Pretty in Pink, a pomegranate Saison, and the Steam Punk, a unique unfiltered Amber lager.
After the tastings, Favio, and microbiologist/yeast wrangler, Jasper Ackerboom gave us an in-depth tour of the expansive brewhouse. We did a unique beer-to-grain tour, starting backwards with their huge cold storage space and moving slowly to the canning line, fermentation areas, brewhouse and mill. Lost Rhino has accumulated a lot of diverse pieces of brewing equipment over the years with much of it recovered from Old Dominion and Shenandoah Brewing. Their 4-head canning line is however brand new! Another area that really stood out was Jasper’s amazing yeast lab filled with flasks stirring, carboys bubbling, and shiny toys that made most of us drool uncontrollably.
After the tour, we all ordered food and had a few more beers as a group. BBQ Chicken Nachos, Bratwurst sandwiches and the Kobe Beef and Pork Sloppy Joe Sliders were a HUGE hit. A great time was had by all and we are grateful to Lost Rhino for hosting us! We highly recommend heading to Lost Rhino if you’re in the Ashburn area.