Brewer's Playlist Volume 11: Natalie Baldwin of Breakside Brewery
In our eleventh Brewer's Playlist we interview, Natalie Baldwin, Brewer at Breakside Brewery in Portland, Oregon. This column explores how music influences brewers in their quest to produce unique and delicious beers. At the end of the interview, a curated Spotify Playlist from Natalie is available for the public to listen to. Enjoy.
Q. How did you get into craft beer?
A. I found a beer at Great Divide in Denver, Colorado that really caught my eye. It was a big stout called Yeti. The bar tender at GD was also working in the brewery so he was very knowledgeable about beer and started teaching me about brewing and beer styles. Fast forward a couple of years, I am in Portland bar tending and learning to brew! Fast forward again, I am a brewer at Breakside!
Q. How has music influenced your brewing?
A. When I brewed at Burnside Brewing, we had a huge whisky barrel that was recycled into a speaker (built by Case of Base). I loved playing different music to suit the time and type of beer being brewed. There is something really special about the sun rising and listening to some amazing music and making beer.
Q. What type of music do you like to listen to while you brew?
A. Mood dependent obviously. It could be Whitney Houston, Black Sabbath, Doc Watson, or some wonderful delta blues.
Q. Do you listen to a certain type of genre of music?
A. My go to music is indie-ish, but I love power ballads too.
Q. Have you ever brewed a music oriented cider before? If so, please explain what and why?
A. A couple of years ago, we brewed at beer at Burnside for a beer/music festival called the Malt Ball. We paired up with a band and made a dry Irish Stout with lamb hearts-- Silence of the Lambs. The band wanted to be super metal and slaughter a lamb in the brewery and I wasn't into that. The beer was super cool but didn't have any notable meat qualities.
Q. Do you play any instruments?
A. I pretend played flute in middle school jazz band. I couldn't keep up because I was terrible at reading music. I just sat there and moved by fingers.
Q. Who is your favorite musician and why?
A. All time favorite is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I love blues guitar and he is was so talented. We also share a birthday and both have peacock tattoos. Soul mates!
Q. What was the first concert you went to?
A. I went to a bunch of concerts with my parents as a kid, but the first I remember is Celine Dion on my 10th birthday. I guess I was just always into power ballads, ha ha.
Q. What was the most recent concert you went to?
A. Most recent concert was Tank and the Bangas. They were fucking awesome.
Q. How do you discover new music?
A. Artist similar to ones I like, friends suggestions, opening bands.
Q. What are your favorite online/offline resources for learning new brewing techniques and ingredients?
A. I mostly like find inspiration by meals, cocktails, and the outdoors (flowers, plants, etc). Once I find what I want to use, I will dig the depths of the interwebs to find as much information I can. Its never one particular source. I also learn a lot from my peers.
Q. What are you excited about coming up at your brewery?
A. Im really excited about the wild, barrel, and fruit beer projects we have coming up this year. We processed a lot of fruit --- cherries, mangos, peaches, apricots, cucumbers, apples, etc----and I can't wait to see how the beers are going to be blended.
In the next handful of months, all the women who work at breakside are going to be a part of a beer project with me. That will be a really special project/beer when we get it all together.
As always, I'm really excited to see what me and the other R&D brewers are going to brew this next year. Our team keeps getting bigger as we make more beer and we keep hiring really talented people. Its really awesome learning from each other constantly.
Q. Spotify Playlist- Choose 10-20 songs you listen to while you brew?
A. See Natalie's complete list below: