Last summer, Alexandria, Virginia, homebrewer Larissa Hanpeter had an idea for a new beer combining two of her favorite things: a hoppy IPA and the flavor of Earl Grey tea. She took Twinings tea leaves and painstakingly smelled and tasted them next to a number of hop varieties and eventually dry- hopped the 5-gallon batch with both hops and tea. "I had no idea if it was going to be really great or if it was going to be a miss," she says.
Thankfully, Girl Grey IPA was good. Good enough, in fact, to win a contest sponsored by Wisconsin brewers Mobcraft and Girls Pint Out, a national organization for female craft beer lovers. In January, Hanpeter flew to Milwaukee, where she brewed a 30-barrel (930-gallon) batch with Mobcraft's brewers. "I didn't just show up and stand around," Hanpeter says. The pros told her: "You're the brewer, it's your recipe. Tell us what you want to do."
Girl Grey IPA is a delightful beer for spring, with familiar aromas of bergamot and lemon from the tea leaves — the final version includes organic Earl Grey tea from Rishi, an organic tea blender in Milwaukee — and a dry, pleasant bitterness with grassy, herbal hops. The golden IPA is very approachable, rather than aggressively hoppy.
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Mobcraft Girl Grey IPA. facebook.com/dcmetrogirlspintout. About $15 per four-pack of 16-ounce cans, and $7 per pint on tap in bars.