“We enjoyed the flip-flop atmosphere, you know, that five-o’clock-somewhere way of life,” says Cyndi Hoffman.
Hoffman, a former teacher, and her husband, Scott, are the owners of the forthcoming Ono Brewing Company, set to open in early August. The brewery is centered on the couple’s experience living in tropical climes.
Scott and Cyndi meet during college in Florida in the early ’90s, and during his military career, Scott was stationed in Hawaii before getting a full-time job offer as an engineer in Florida, bouncing the couple between the two states for almost 20 years. Cyndi’s Hawaiian exposure started much earlier: Her mother was born and raised on Oahu.
In 2011, their family moved to Northern Virginia, where the pace of life was jarring after so many years in the laid-back atmosphere of island life.
“This area is very fast-paced and tense,” says Cyndi. “Everyone is just working so hard here.”
That culture shock was part of what drove the couple to open up the brewery. “Even though we don’t have a beach, we wanted to bring some of that here,” says Cyndi.
Scott started homebrewing during his time in the military, and his brews had become popular among family and friends. When the couple decided to open the brewery, they combined both their interests. Ono’s island atmosphere will be complete with paddle fans, beach photographs and Jimmy Buffett playing on the speakers.
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When Ono opens in August, it will feature beers with flavors like mango, pineapple and Kona coffee. Cyndi’s favorite is the Peweli Pale Ale, honoring her mother’s Hawaiian name. The pale ale is made with “late-hopped pale ale with citra hops to give it a tropical aroma of mango, papaya and pineapple for a fruity flavor.”
The Peweli Pale Ale will be available along with seven other brews when Ono debuts a self-service beer wall. Customers will be able to use a credit card or a prepaid card to fill up their own beers, charging by the tenth of an ounce. This gives guests the opportunity for smaller tastings and combining brews.
“The customer can mix a sour and an IPA to create that perfect blend or create their own flight of beers and have however much of each one they like,” Cyndi says.
Cyndi had her own experience with this just a few weeks ago when she and her husband got a flight of beers at a local brewery. The sour she was given was, she says, “too sour” for her tastes. She mixed a little bit of the more hop-dense IPA into it and said it cut the sour just the right amount and made the beer “just perfect.”
If an Ono customer likes a blend that they have created, they can make a note and request a custom growler to take home because Cyndi and Scott want this to truly be a new experience for their customers.
“We want them to be able to make it exactly the way they want it to be,” Cyndi says. // Ono Brewing Company: 4520 Daly Drive, Chantilly