Interview with Brewing Team of Baying Hound Aleworks – Part II: Lindsey Miller


Part I of this blog left of at Part I: Paul Rinehart

After my conversation with Paul, I noticed Lindsey, Rory, and Lance getting ready to bottle. I chatted with Tom Whalen and Lindsey’s mother, Nelly, (visiting from out of town to see her daughter’s accomplishments) while I watched the team prepare for bottling. I figured this was a good chance to help out, so I dove in and started packing beer. I took advantage of the fact that Lindsey was stationary while filling bottles to ask her a few questions about the trails that led her to Baying Hound.

Lindsey

CC: Before we started the interview, you mentioned that you like to brew experimental beers. What have you done recently that was a crazy experiment?
Lindsey: Right now in fermentation at home, I have a chai and anise beer. And I’m brewing an Imperial Russian Stout later this week. There was also the Smoked Pumpkin Porter. I brewed this up because I’m a real fan of pumpkin beers, but wanted to do something a little different so I thought a darker beer style would be fun and would support the pumpkin flavors. I brewed this on August 1st. I wanted to ensure it had enough time to mature and mellow for October. I left Rory in charge of the mash (this was just a mini-mash) over the turkey fryer. He was watering the plants, assuming it would take a while for the mash to reach temperature. However, when he turned around it was smoking because a good portion of the water had boiled off and what was left was creating a liquid smoke in with the pumpkin and grains. We debated throwing it out and starting over; however, it was really difficult to get canned pumpkin this past summer (there was a pumpkin shortage apparently,) so I suggested moving forward to see how it would turn out. It ended up with a very roasted smoky pumpkin flavor; the flavors all melded together rather nicely and didn’t overpower one another. I entered this beer into a BURP (Brewers United for Real Potables) competition (my first competition and first BURP meeting) and won 2nd place. One criticism was that the porter flavors competed too much with the pumpkin flavors. Rory and I didn’t like it much, but we are not big smoked beer fans. However, most everyone loved it and it was hard to keep it around as many of our friends were coming back for more. We’ve been asked to brew it again, and I’m not sure I can re-create the smoke flavors – but I will try.

CC:  Why do you brew?
Lindsey: I brew because I love it; I’m super passionate about creating something that will bring people together to enjoy! I started brewing to take my mind off of a really bad break-up and it’s really become soothing to me. It also really helped me after I broke my arm. I couldn’t work or do much of anything for six months; but I could still create recipes and brew (with some assistance), which was really helpful in my healing process. I love immersing myself in recipe formulation. That’s probably my favorite part. I absolutely enjoy coming up with new ideas; some are accidents and others are just whims. I also love the historical and cultural aspects of beer. I think it’s amazing that beer is a part of almost every culture on the planet and has been around as long as people have been stationary (that’s like my cultural anthropology degree coming through). Because of that, I think I focus more on ingredients that may be a little less popular – I read a lot and try to incorporate as much of what I read into my brewing techniques and recipes.

CC: What has your experience been since opening your own doors in November 2010?
Lindsey: I joined BHA [Baying Hound Aleworks] in December…it was all very novel at that point. I’ve learned a lot, considering my first all-grain batch was a 42-gallon batch at Baying Hound. It’s a continual learning experience. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new or come up with a new way to do things. We’re really evolving the process and trying to make it as efficient as possible and we’ve really come a long way since December!

CC: What are your expectations as a brewer at Baying Hound?
Lindsey: I want to learn everything I can. Right now I’m really focused on the brewing aspect, but I’d like to learn a bit more about the business side. I really just want to have fun and see my beers on the shelves so that I can share them with a lot more people!

CC: What do you love most about craft beer?
Lindsey: How open the community is, everyone involved is willing to share ideas or help you solve a problem or develop a recipe or give you suggestions. I am always amazed at how open the community is no matter where you are. It’s great!

CC: What is your favorite commercial beer?
Lindsey: I’m a big Dogfish fan. 60 and 90 are my go-to beers, depending on how I feel and whether I’m looking for something higher in alcohol. I really like what Dogfish does in general. All the things they experiment with, the ingredients, I really relate to all that. They’re probably my favorite brewery. And Sam [Calagione] was my inspiration for getting into brewing to begin with. I have a cultural anthropology degree as my undergrad. That’s why I started getting into his beers initially, because it really appealed to me on that level. And then I started reading his books and I figured, “I’m just going to start brewing, this sounds like so much fun.” That’s also part of why I feel like more of my beers have a weird little ticks to them instead of being standard. I just like to experiment.

CC: How many years have you been brewing your own beer?
Lindsey: I started brewing August 2009, so about a year and a half.

CC: What is your favorite beer memory/moment?
Lindsey: This is always a hard question for me, because I have so many. I recall my dad explaining the anatomy of beer to me as a kid. It all seemed so crazy that people came up with the idea to put these things together. Then there are the times I’ve spent in Germany drinking local beers and discussing their merits with my German family members. There’s the day Paul asked me to brew for him, which was an amazing point in my life. There’s also the very first day I ever brewed a batch of beer, I was a complete nervous wreck and watched over the fermentation like a new mother. I’ve also had a lot of great memories just drinking a beer with friends and family.

CC: What are your hobbies outside of brewing?
Lindsey: Being outside (when it’s nice), I rock climb, snowboard, hike, camp, etc. I like to read. Sometimes I read things other than books about beer. I really like sharing time with friends over a beer. I think that beer really brings people together and I love being a part of that!

CC: I understand you are now a Pink Boots Society member. Are you linked with the Ladies of Craft Beer?
Lindsey: I am now. I just submitted my name to be added to the directory.

CC: What events do you plan on attending this year?
Lindsey: Extreme Beer Fest in Boston March 11-12, SAVOR June 3rd in Washington D.C. including one of the salon sessions. Other than that, I haven’t planned anything out. I will likely volunteer at the NoVa Summer Beer Fest and the Shirlington Oktoberfest. I really like volunteering at beer festivals. It’s a great way to interact with people who love beer and to get new ideas. It’s also great to see how people react to different beers.

After helping bottle 20 cases of their Brown IPA, I left with a bottle of the Lemon Myrtle, an intensely lemony beer I would equate to a liquefied, alcoholic version of a lemon chiffon or meringue pie. I’d like to thank Paul and Lindsey for their time to answer my questions, allowing me to volunteer and participate, and for sharing a drink with me before I left. Your slogan is perfect: “Brewed by people you’d like to drink with.” I’ll drink and brew with you guys any day in celebration of “Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle.”

miguel

Miguel Torres: I'm a craft beer fanatic, a homebrewer and President of California Castaway. I love the relaxed, fun-loving craft beer lifestyle and will rave about it to anyone who's willing to listen.

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