She’s been home-brewing for 15 years, and on a warm weekend that ushered in another taste of spring, Larissa Hanpeter went to work in her backyard brewery.
“A lot of people think you can do this just anywhere,” Hanpeter said in an interview Sunday. “But you have to be creative, and you have to know what you’re doing.”
Hanpeter works for D.C. Brau, a brewery in Northeast Washington. Among the stainless-steel vats and brewers from around the region, Hanpeter launched her own beer in late March, a new variety known as Girl Grey IPA.
Think flavors of Earl Gray tea, transformed into beer.
“You have to be creative and find combinations that work,” Hanpeter said. “I wanted to see if Earl Grey would do the trick, and I really loved how it turned out.”
She entered her Girl Grey IPA into a national completion among female brewers – and won. Girl Grey IPA became the best new beer submitted from around the country, as selected by the craft beer organization Girls Pint Out.
Hanpeter created close to 1,000 gallons of Girl Grey at the competition in Milwaukee, with the Washington Post lauding her skill and originality.
“Girl Grey IPA is a delightful beer for spring, with familiar aromas of bergamot and lemon from the tea leaves,” wrote Post nightlife critic and beer columnist Fritz Hahn. “The golden IPA is very approachable, rather than aggressively hoppy.”
The home-brewing process is long, lasting for about a day. But Hanpeter is now setting her sights on new varieties and encouraging other women to break into the brewing scene.
“You can start easily with a home kit, and then advance to the more difficult skill set,” Hanpeter said. “Just do your research, be creative, and anyone can do it.”