Griner will take the reins as brewmaster of Capitol City Brewing Co. on Valentine's Day, and she's already got some big ideas. A 25-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Griner began brewing in 2007 at Hops Grill and Brewery in Alexandria before moving to Vintage 50 in Leesburg, where she created 15 new beer recipes.
How did you get started in brewing? When I first got [to the Washington area], my husband and I had just had a baby, so I wanted something to do a few nights a week, so I started waiting tables [at Hops]. Once I had been there a few years, our brewmaster wanted to move back to Florida. So I kind of wrangled my way in there. I don't think they had a woman brewing for them before, so they were kind of dubious.
What are your plans for Capitol City? I want to try to get in there and start doing new things. Two guys I have working with me have worked with Cap City in the past as part-time workers. All of us are very excited to get in there and start doing new things. We're already starting to make plans on what the first new brews will be. Initially, I'm going to keep the four core beers the same, but I may have some leeway to refresh those.
What's exciting about the D.C. brewing scene right now? It's exploding. It's absolutely blown up in the last couple years. Pretty much started across the river in Alexandria, but now there's a whole lot of new energy. Even though Cap City has been around for 20 years, we have a whole new staff and a bunch of ideas.
- Andy Brownfield