Looking to sit back and relax with a crisp pint of beer? While there are plenty of choices in Northern Virginia, one brewery is particularly loved. In this year’s NoVA Wars: Brewery Edition online poll, readers voted Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn the best out of 32 fierce competitors.
“Two things I think stand out about the beer, and one is consistency and the other one is longevity,” says Stephanie Richards, events manager for Lost Rhino. “For 12 years, we’ve had very consistently good beer that has grown a following and fan base over the years.”
It all started in 2009. When the longstanding Old Dominion Brewing Company relocated to Delaware, Loudoun County was left without its craft beer staple. Seeing an opportunity, former Old Dominion brewer Matt Hagerman purchased some of his former employer’s equipment and launched a new craft brewery, Lost Rhino, in 2011. Taking the brewery’s Virginia roots seriously, Hagerman and his team opened with the mission of sourcing the ingredients in the beer as locally as possible.
The brand’s name takes inspiration from surfing lingo. A “rhino chaser” is a person who is always on the hunt for the biggest, most exciting waves. In this case, the rhino is “lost” because the brewing company sits so far from the ocean. The brewery channels its logo’s adventurous spirit into the beachy, laid-back vibe that its space and its beers embody.
When it comes to award-winning brews, Face Plant is the star of the show. “Year after year, it is our most popular,” says Richards. The flagship IPA boasts notes of bitter grapefruit and a piney, herbal aroma. Its seasonal beer Summer Blaze is popular as well, Richards says. It’s a hazy New Zealand–style IPA with moderate bitterness and playful notes of candy and citrus.
As for the future, Lost Rhino has big plans: RhinO’fest will return on September 9. The annual Oktoberfest-style block party is complete with live music, authentic German cuisine, and (naturally) plenty of beer, including the seasonal Märzen lager that shares the festival’s name. The company is also working on plans to expand its onsite and offsite events and community partnerships, offering pop-up “Rhino on the Road” experiences for private and corporate events.
“We know there’s a lot of great craft breweries out there; we partner with a lot of them. We’re excited that the craft beer industry has taken off so much in the past 12 years,” says Richards. “One thing we want everyone to know is that we appreciate the support.” 21730 Red Rum Dr., Ste. 142, Ashburn, lostrhino.com
Feature image by Olivia Garrone
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