By Ariel Yong
Tapping today at 4 p.m., Lost Rhino Brewing Company debuts Hop Shove-it Wet Hop Ale. The beer is made with local cascade hops the brewery team picked themselves from Old Dominion Hop Cooperative at Whipporwill Manor Farm in Madison County. Lost Rhino’s Megan Van Patten explains why Lost Rhino chose to experiment with local fresh-hops instead of serving traditional pumpkin beer.
Northern Virginia Magazine: Tell me about your new beer, Hop Shove-It.
Megan Van Patten: It is a wet-hop ale, [which] is similar to a pale ale. It’s just different in the way that it’s made: boiling with the fresh hops instead of treated ones. It’s going to be a little earthier and kind of have a piney hint to it so it’ll be a little lighter.
Where did the name come from?
It is a play on a skateboarding term, Pop Shove-it. Lost Rhino is a group of very active brewers and staff who aim to inspire good times, doing cool things and celebrating experiences over a good beer. We felt this name was appropriate for our wet hop ale because the amount of hops we shoved into it.
How would you describe the difference in tastes between this beer, which uses fresh hops, versus a beer that uses dry hops?
If you were to taste a beer that was made with fresh hops versus one that was made with pellet hops, the bitterness is different. It’s not going to be as harsh. It’ll be a little bit lighter of a bitterness but still very dry.
What were the reasons for choosing not to brew a pumpkin beer this year?
We did a lot of specialty beers this year … so I think part of it was also allocating the time to make sure we’re brewing our regular core beers. We were making the decision right around when we went hop picking and so that day made the final decision for us. It was like, ‘Well we could have a pumpkin ale on the schedule but we have all these amazing fresh hops that we just picked and these will do a much better job with a wet-hop ale’ so we decided to go with that.
What, if any, backlash do you think you’ll face for not serving a pumpkin beer this fall?
Our brewery definitely has more of the mentality of experimenting … As much as the market is expecting a pumpkin, I almost think that we are better off representing who we are. Do we do something that everybody’s expecting or do we take these hops and create something that’s different? [And people are] like, ‘Oh, I’ve already had 8,000 pumpkin beers. I need a break from that. What do you guys have?’
Where do you see the future of craft beers in Virginia going?
I see the future of craft beer becoming the norm. With D.C. and Northern Virginia kind of being a very good brother-sister type of relationship, we’re always out there sharing things. We have a very good relationship with all the breweries out there, too. It’s a pretty tight-knit brewing community and we’re constantly doing collaborations with other breweries, which isn’t always the case. In some places, it’s more of a competitive market. I think people are very interested and I think in Northern Virginia, it’s not as snobby as it is in some places and I think a lot of it is because a lot of the breweries, especially the ones that are close to our brewery, are much more influenced by the West Coast-style and they brew a lot of pale ale out there so it’s a little more laid back, sort of that experimental mentality.