On the Brewer to Brewer Podcast Kevin Davey of Gold Dot Beer and Heater Allen interviews Natalie Rose Baldwin of Wayfinder Beer. It is a conversation with a lot of layers because not only are they friends, but Baldwin recently started the job as brewmaster at Wayfinder Beer, a job previously held by Davey.
In a conversation that examines the Oregon brewing industry as well as passing an employment torch, the two also highlight the importance of carving ones own career path and being true to beers that excite them.
Before joining Wayfinder Baldwin worked as the research and development brewer for Breakside Brewing in Oregon.
Kevin Davey: You were the brewer and the research and development brewer for a huge chunk of time. What was that like and can you talk about some of your favorite beers that you made?
Natalie Rose Baldwin: R&D at Breakside was really interesting because all of the recipes that we were making in the pubs weren’t necessarily like designed for upscaling for the market.
Part of it was messing around with yeast, but Dylan who is now the lead R&D brewer at Breakside he’ll make a beer with a new hop or a lot that has potential. When he’s using those hops he’ll figure out how it’s interacting with all of the other hops and then get it scaled up to use at the bigger brewery.
But it’s not like making a beer so that it will get scaled up. The way I got to do it was to make whatever I wanted, like a big open area, and making whatever you want all the time is so much freedom.
Before I was leaving [Breakside] I looked through all of the recipes that I had made and I made a shitload of beer. But some of my favorite beers were some of the most boring ones, not actually boring but just not the super cool kid sexy stuff.
Anyone who has heard me talk about beer knows I love gose.
Kevin Davey: I don’t think everyone knows the story. Tell me about gose.
Natalie Rose Baldwin: When I first started learning to brew, the brewer that I worked with was super into Berliner Weisse, and so I drank a bunch of Berliners. And I got to know the acid profile on the wheat. And then I remember when Tonya [Cornett] from 10 Barrel first released German Sparkle Party. I was at this release party and here’s this badass ladybrewer Tanya And I remember going to one and everyone gathers this like badass ladybird, Tonya and she had made this amazing beer and I came to adore the beautiful, elegant lacto profils.
Then I discovered gose, and I’m a savory girl myself, so the beautiful boquet of lacto, coriander, and the acidity with the salinity combined into a weird little beer, I just thought it was so crazy. Then you discover the history of it.
I remember having Reuben’s Brews gose and chatting with them about what kind of coriander they were using and the TA and pH and designed a beer off of that specific beer. When we were originally making it I wanted to call it “To Reuben’s with Love” because I just wanted to drink it all the time.
Then I got a scholarshop through the Pink Boots Society to go to Germenay and in addition to the travel I did with the scholarship I tacked on come other cities like Cologne so I could drink Kölsch, and I was trying to make it to Gosselaar where gose is originally from because I wanted to taste the water profile and learn more about where it came from.
The style was revived in Leipzig, so I went there and drank gose where and it was darker and sweeter than I expected.
Over the years we kept brewing this over and over again and we’d do six batches in a row and the bartenders would say “hey, this is supposed to be R&D do something cooler.”
But we were dialing this in and in 2020 it placed at GABF and I felt very proud of all the work we did traveling around the world and working with our QA team and coming up with a bunch of different processes to make the beer better and better.
I scheduled my last day at Breakside around it being the last beer I brewed there.
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The above transcript was condensed and edited for clarity.