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Ashburn’s Lost Rhino Brewing to make Bone Duster, a Pale(ogene) Ale

Jasper Akerboom and Jason Osborne working on Bone Duster at Lost Rhino in Ashburn. - Courtesy/Jasper Akerboom
We unfortunately can't clone dinosaurs. But just maybe we can prepare the kind of beer Fred and Wilma might have guzzled.

Jasper Akerboom and Jason Osborne, through a partnership of Paleo Quest, a science nonprofit, and Lost Rhino Brewing have set out to brew Bone Dusters Amber Ale.

The beer uses yeast from the fossil of a more than 30-million-year old whale to produce a beer Akerboom called “earthy” in his blog with a taste similar to a Saison.

Akerboom and Osborne initially met while working together at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn.

The two reconnected after Akerboom left Janelia to pursue his passion for brewing beer with Ashburn-based Lost Rhino.

Osborne co-founded Paleo Quest, and still has a full-time job at Janelia.

Paleo Quest's mission statement is "to advance the sciences of paleontology and geology through material contributions to museum collections, field exploration, publication and the advancement of science education."

Osborne said the Gainesville-based nonprofit is simply trying to stimulate conversation about science.

"Microbes are all around us, and I just got this wild idea," said Osborne, who originally thought there was a chance that if they could find yeast suitable for beer-brewing the whole thing might be a good way to get people interested in microbial sciences.

Jasper didn't think it would work, and neither did Osborne, but they are both curious scientists always looking forward to an interesting experiment.

It took almost two dozen specimen before they found a suitable yeast from a 30-million-year-old (give or take a few million years) whale in the archives that was found in southeastern Virginia in the Great Dismal Swamp.

The yeast was living on the whale specimen and is more than likely modern yeast. They were shocked when it worked.

Lost Rhino has agreed to give a portion of the proceeds it receives from the sale of the brew to Paleo Quest.


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