Ashburn breweries share the stories behind their unique brand names

By Chris Wadsworth

When beer lovers stop in at a local brewery, the main joy is — of course — the beer. Crisp and clean. Hoppy and bitter. Malty and sweet. Dark and roasty. But there is something else that sometimes brings a smile to the faces of imbibers — the creative, funny, sometimes even meaningful names that brewers give their magic libations.

Think Lost Rhino’s Face Plant or Hit The Lip. How about Tunnel Vision or Colorful Kite at Dynasty Brewing?  Or Blue Hornet and Berry Bad Ashley at House 6 Brewing.

Ashburn Magazine reached out to the Ashburn breweries and asked for an interesting backstory to one of their beer names. And interesting stories we got.

21730 Red Rum Drive, Suite 142

Certainly most people under the age of 60 — both men and women — have played a video game at one time or another. Lots of us probably have spent far too much time playing them. And still gamers are the butt of gentle jokes.

Take MIG West Coast Style India Pale Ale over at Lost Rhino — the granddaddy of breweries here in Ashburn, dating back to 2011 when it picked up the pieces left behind by Old Dominion Brewing Company and started afresh. Their MIG Pale Ale is described as having papaya and mango flavors with a bitter finish. The acronym MIG stands for “My Imaginary Girlfriend,” a “playful riff,” as the brewery describes it, on folks who are so big into gaming that they may need to make up an imaginary girlfriend to boost their social standing.

“She’s very real if you drink a few of these,” said Dave Hoffman, president of Lost Rhino Brewing Company.

44427 Atwater Drive

House 6 Brewing opened in 2018 and quickly became a go-to spot for local brew fans. One of the most popular beers at House 6 has a name that is perfectly fitting for the firehouse theme — but only if you know a little Spanish. 

El Bombero Kölsch is best described as a light, crisp and moderately hopped beer. And no, “el bombero” does not mean “the bomb” but rather “the firefighter.” And who is El Bombero — none other than Rolando Rivera, the founder and president at House 6. You see, Rivera, who hails from Puerto Rico, has also been a volunteer firefighter in Ashburn for 11 years. He combined his passion for firefighting with his passion for beer and created House 6. El Bombero Kölsch is literally named for him.

“We didn’t realize how hard it [would] be for many people to pronounce,” said Marian Arcelay, the director of operations at House 6. “But everyone loves to hear what it means and why we named it. El Bombero won a gold medal right out of the gate and has been a staple [of ours] since day one.”

44652 Guilford Drive, Unit 114

Finding names that haven’t already been taken is a challenge with the proliferation of craft beers, say the folks at Old Ox Brewery, which has been an Ashburn favorite for seven years now. Nevertheless, they came up with a clever name for a seasonal beer that is returning this October. 

Get ready for Motor Goat Bock Lager. It turns out there is more to this name than you might think. The bock beer style reportedly originated in Einbeck, Germany, during the Middle Ages. Over the years, Einbeck has been spelled and pronounced different ways, and the Barvarians pronounced it as Einbock, which was also the word for billy goat. The word bock stuck to the new beer style and so did the image of a goat, which has been connected to bock beers ever since.

“We honored this tradition by calling our beer Motor Goat,” said Old Ox president Chris Burns. “We think it’s a pretty bad-ass beer, which needed to be represented by a bad-ass character. Hence, we imagined our goat cruising the autobahn [a type of German highway] on his chopper.” 

21140 Ashburn Crossing Drive, Suite 170

For this next one — brace yourselves. We will word it as delicately as possible. The Craft of Brewing rotates a large number of beers through their 14 bar taps and their 20 taps on a self-serve wall. All in all, they have come up with more than 150 beer names over the years. 

But one jumps out — the Bedwetter ESB, or Extra Special Bitter. The beer was named after an alleged true story told by a former employee. It seems said employee made a connection on a dating app. The date went swimmingly, to say the least, but overnight there was an… “incident.” We’ll let you infer what that was — but the story quickly became legendary at the brewery and the new ESB had its name. At least for a time.

“[Our current brewer] hates the Bedwetter name, so we haven’t used it [in a while],” said Travis Travers, CEO at The Craft of Brewing. “I still chuckle when I think about the story, but he won’t budge on using it.”

21140 Ashburn Crossing Drive

Dynasty Brewing just celebrated its third anniversary in Ashburn. One of the beer names they are most proud of is El Supremo, an Italian-style pilsner that is dry-hopped. 

El Supremo is named for co-owner Travis Thompson’s father-in-law, Joseph LoBue, a former professor at New York University and avid league bowler for years in northern New Jersey. LoBue’s nickname was El Supremo and, whenever it was late in a game and his team was behind, he would stand up and recite the same poem to help rally the guys to victory.

Here’s the final verse: “It’s not over yet/On that you can bet/Our brows may be wet/From cursing and sweat/No, have ye not fear/El Supremo is here.”

LoBue passed away two years ago, but he lived long enough to see and taste his namesake beer.

“He loved it,” Thompson said. “He was very honored. He thought it was fantastic. He was tickled.”