Port city, Lost Rhino Bolster NoVA’s Microbrewing Rep
By Warren Rojas
Rumor has it that the District will welcome something like a half-dozen new microbrewers before the end of 2011.
Enjoy the wait.
We’ll be sipping on the gourmet pours already flowing from NoVA’s latest beer barons, Port City Brewing and Lost Rhino Brewing Co.
Port City founder Bill Butcher started out in the wine industry. But he decided to hop the fence after realizing that, unlike many major metropolitan hubs, the D.C.-Metro area lacked a signature beer.
“This market has people that know their stuff. And they expect great quality,” he says of the rising tide of craft brew connoisseurs that call NoVA home. Award-winning brewer Jonathan Reeves—a Bardo alumnus who also clocked time at Sweetwater Tavern and was last seen at the Ruddy Duck on Solomons Island—developed a quartet of carefully calculated recipes for Port City’s 2011 launch, a core catalog that includes: Monumental IPA (packed with hops and spice), Optimal Wit (crisp and fruit hefeweizen), Essential Pale Ale (clean, refreshing brew) and Porter (lotsa dark chocolate and coffee notes).
Brew fans are welcome to sample all the beers from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and noon-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at Port City’s tasting room. The $5 tasting fee entitles guests to a keepsake glass, a full tour (conducted on Saturdays) of the five-vessel brewhouse—including rare tastes of still- fermenting beers—and sips of the final products. Visitors can also purchase ($13.99)/refill ($10)/growlers at the tasting room.
At press time, Port City beers were already on the menu at various NoVA restaurants, including: Columbia Firehouse, Evening Star Café, Food Matters and Galaxy Hut. And Butcher says they are hoping to be on retail shelves in the coming months.
The Lost Rhino crew was still ramping up when we visited with them. But they’ve got a multi-year growth plan that had our mouths watering.
Old Dominion Brewing Company vets Favor Garcia (brewer) and Matt Hagerman (operations) say they were considering breaking out on their own BEFORE Coastal Brewing shut down the Ashburn outpost.
With their former employer gone, the pair went looking for a potential brewery of their own, eventually settling upon a 9,000-square-foot space expected to house a new, four-fermenter brewhouse (early 2011); a 3,000-square-foot tasting room/bar (late 2011); and a 30,000-square-foot brewpub/kitchen (2012).
Lost Rhino is recycling, literally, tons of materials from Old Dominion’s operations, including building supplies (windows, doors), brewing containers (fermentations tanks, reconditioned beer barrels) and even brewing recipes (Lost Rhino purchased the rights to OD’s New River Pale Ale). At press time, Garcia was planning to get the ball rolling with just a handful of signature brews, including: the aforementioned pale ale, Lost Rhino Pilsner, an unnamed IPA and gourmet root beer.
And what about that cryptic name?
“It’s all about getting lost … on purpose,” Garcia suggests. “It’s supposed to be an adventure.”
Lost Rhino Brewing Co.
21730 Red Rum Road, #142, Ashburn; 571-291-2083
Port City Brewing
3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; 703-797-2739