By Kris McDowell
Pints Brewing Company, the Old Town brewery home to brewmaster Alan Taylor, is putting a different spin on collaboration brews. Alan
came up with the idea to bring “all of the taproom employees through the brewery to make their ‘dream beers’ over the last few months.” I had a chance to sit down with one of them, Natalie Baldwin, to learn about her and her dream beer.
Natalie, like many who now call Portland home, is a transplant. Hailing from beer-centric Colorado she grew up around beer and while studying biochemistry at the University of Colorado she started home brewing. She moved to Portland two years ago and has been working at Pints for nearly a year.
Natalie designed the recipe for her dream beer based on one of her favorite styles to drink — a citrus forward IPA (she’s also a big fan of sour beers, for the record). Alan approved of the recipe in its entirety and the brewing commenced. Natalie was hands on throughout the process, including zesting the grapefruits, sourced from the yard of her boyfriend’s mom, that were added to the boil and the subsequent dry-hopping.
When I asked Alan about his inspiration to bring the taproom staff into the brewery he pointed to two main sources. The first was that, “so many of them are home brewers who have a lot of interest in the process,” as is true for Natalie. The second speaks to the positive working environment at Pints, a situation where Alan says, “...is the first brewery in my 17 years of professional brewing where I have the ultimate freedom to brew whatever I want [and it] led me to want to share the love with my colleagues. They each have their own creative angle on their recipes which has been a lot of fun for me to experience.”
In addition to brewing her dream beer Natalie regularly peppers Alan with questions as she strives to learn more about brewing and offers to help in the brewery whenever possible. Alan’s interest in helping her is part of the reason she has stayed at Pints. Still a novice in terms of commercial brewing, Natalie is interested in pursuing a position with a brewery in the future. In the meantime, she is soaking up as much knowledge as she can from Alan, and working toward her Master Cicerone® certification.
In addition to Natalie’s Hop Tart Grapefruit IPA, three other taproom employees have brewed their dream beers: Lauren made Rose Hippie Rose Infused Cream Ale, Singularity Pale Ale came from Nick and Cloud Break Common was Kory’s dream beer. Not only has the taproom staff enjoyed the process but Alan has benefitted from it as well. “Some [of the staff] have had a pretty complete recipe and some have had a concept which we hashed out into a workable recipe. That in and of itself has been good practice in recipe formulation.” said Alan.
Pints Brewing Company
(a) 412 NW 5th Ave, Portland
(h) Mon - Sat 11:30am - 110:00pm, Sunday 12-9pm
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.