Brewer's Playlist Volume 6: Ryan Lund of McMenamins West Linn Brewery
In our sixth Brewer's Playlist we interview, Ryan Lund, Brewer at McMenamins West Linn Brewery in West Linn, 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 Ryan is available for the public to listen to. Enjoy.
Q. How did you get into craft beer?
A. It's always been tied in with music. My trombone player asked if I'd like to homebrew with him. I said yes, and I was hooked right away.
Q. How has music influenced your brewing?
A. Music and brewing use the same parts of the brain. Music theory and chemistry, arranging and recipe design, critical listening and critical tasting... They're all the same. Stepping back to see and enjoy the big picture is universal as well.
Q. What type of music do you like to listen to while you brew?
A. Most of what I listen to lies in the funk, soul, and jazz categories. I choose music to help get my mood and energy level on the same page as my immediate task list. When I'm cruising, it's a lot of soul, afrobeat, and fusion. If I'm dragging, it's more funk and rock. Sometimes my mind is racing and I just need to focus, and that calls for more ethereal jazz or rocksteady ska. Many of the pub staff have told me "I just never know what I'm going to hear when I walk into the brewery," and I take that as a compliment. I listen to full albums rather than single tracks or playlists. Call me old-school. I'll take that as a compliment, too.
Q. Do you listen to a certain type of genre of music?
A. No. I think music is like food. The body operates best when eating a variety of foods. I think the mind operates best with a variety of music. I listen to a lot of the same stuff in and out of the brewery.
Q. Have you ever brewed a music oriented beer before? If so, please explain what and why?
A. McMenamins brewers have a lot of opportunities to collaborate with musicians. The annual Sabertooth festival at the Crystal Ballroom pairs brewers with bands for collaboration beers. I brewed a Mexican Session Ale for Portland instrumental psych-rockers Máscaras for that event. A couple of weeks ago, I brewed a SMaSH double IPA for the Portland band Falcon Heart. They call themselves a "folksplosion," so I brewed them a "hopsplosion."
Q. Do you play any instruments?
A. I'm a bassist. I started out as a drummer, and have played a bit of guitar, but the bass is really where it's at for me. I'm playing upright in an acoustic anti-folk trio called Fat Kitten, and electric in a party-rock band called Lovejoy.
Q. Who is your favorite musician and why?
A. I don't think I can answer that!
Q. What was the first concert you went to?
A. The first big concert I remember going and getting tickets for was Nine Inch Nails, the Fragility tour with A Perfect Circle, in 2000.
Q. What was the most recent concert you went to?
A. It was actually Falcon Heart and Old Outfits, two days ago. I was pouring samples of the Falcon Heart collaboration double IPA, and answering questions about the company and its breweries.
Q. How do you discover new music?
A. I listen to KMHD almost exclusively in the car. I hear something new (at least, to me) a few times a week. I'll find the artist on the kmhd.org playlist, and then search for them on Spotify. The "related artists" tab on Spotify has introduced me to some excellent new music, as well.
Q. What are your favorite online/offline resources for learning new brewing techniques and ingredients?
A. There are tons of archived magazines online for both home brewers and professionals. When it comes to new ingredients, the home brewing resources are often just as useful as the pro-specific resources.
Q. What are you excited about coming up at your brewery?
A. CDA season is upon us. I have embraced the style as a chance to get weird with IPAs. I like to use small doses of rye and German hops to compliment pine-forward American hops. In September, I'll be collaborating with Jen, our Salem brewer, on a CDA event showcasing different ingredients.
Q. Spotify Playlist- Choose 10-20 songs you listen to while you brew?