What do you listen to when you brew?

Last Sunday, I was brewing. Granted, it was in my kitchen, and the result is a little under 1/6 bbl, or 5 gallons. But I was brewing.

I happen to hate silence, most of the time. So for this brew day, I had a Pandora station based off Stevie Ray Vaughn. And it was good.

But it got me to thinking… What do the pros listen to when they brew? What do the brewmasters who give our state fame through grain listen to when they brew? So I asked.

The responses are worthy of no editing or commentary.

Great Divide

Taylor: “The one, the only, Grateful Dead.”

Chris: “Mostly metal: Pantera, and Slayer… maybe some Jethro Tull to mix it up.”

Jeff: Books on tape.

Austin: “I prefer silence, so to better enjoy the rhapsodic melodies of chattering fermentation, the sweet whisper of milling grain and jackal-like crackheads pounding on the Tap Room door at 4am.”


Brad and Gordon:

  1. Rare Grateful Dead albums. This is all Gordon, I think he has an mp3 for every Grateful Dead concert ever played. I have developed the ability to tune this out.
  2. MC 900 Ft. Jesus. Gordon introduced me to this, its pretty fun stuff.
  3. Thievery Corporation. Between us I think we have all their albums.
  4. Anything with Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star). Gordon and I both have a crush on her.

Dry Dock


It’s kinda funny, if Lachlan comes in to start he has Blue Grass cranked and the rest of us can only take it for an hour or two before it has to change!


I am one of Dry Dock’s brewers and on my playlist, I have quite a blend of different genres.  Songs range from some blues by Stevie Ray Vaughn and Buddy Guy to some Australian Multi-instrumentalists like John Butler and Xavier Rudd.  I do have a few classics like Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ and Billy Joel’s Piano Man, along with other karaoke faves that I might happen to belt out if no one is around.  One of the other brewers, Lachlan, got the Bluegrass bug to bite me and have a few Bluegrass tunes on my iPod like Yonder Mountain String Band and Green Sky BlueGrass.

Most of my taste in music stemmed from my father, a local guitarist who can play practically anything under the sun: blues, rock, country, and quite a few more.  Music is meant to make listeners feel something when they listen to it, a memory or an emotion that can take them back to that moment when they first heard it, much like a beer.  Each beer holds memories for me and being able to use music to help me keep brewing beer with soul.


Whenever I’m working, whether it’s a brew day or a filter day, cleaning day (which is pretty much every day) or a total slacker day, I’m listening to bluegrass.  Old, traditional bluegrass.  Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, JD Crowe.  I like a lot of the traditional based newer stuff, like Hot Rize, Seldom Scene, Peter Rowan, David Grisman,  Lonesome River Band.  And then there are the bands that are out touring today that have that certain sound, but keep it simple and make it sound like bluegrass:  Steep Canyon Rangers, Infamous Stringdusters, Henhouse Prowlers, Grascals, Blue Highway.  And whether it’s a bluegrass album, a Hot Rize album (where he played fiddle and mandolin and wrote a lot of songs,) or anything else he’s ever done (guest appearance, collaboration, etc) I’ll always listen to anything with Tim O’Brien in it.  Or Pete Wernick. (Again, see Hot Rize, as he is the banjo player.)

Stranahan’s Distillery


  • Tom Waits
  • Denver Joe
  • Merle Haggard


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  • Grateful Dead
  • TX Alt Country
  • Wilco
  • Cracker
  • Meat Puppets
  • and everything else.



  • Black keys – just couldn’t tie me down
  • Clap your hands say yeah- skin of my yellow country teeth
  • Cold war kids- we use to vacation
  • Edward Sharpe – home
  • Mumford and sons – sigh no more
  • Lots of random indie rock


I didn’t hear back by the time I published, but let’s just assume The Toasters, on repeat.


John Schneider – Head Brewer

  • Swollen Members
  • Pennywise
  • Authority Zero
  • Bury Your Dead
  • NOFX
  • Bad Religion
  • Drag the River
  • Circle Jerks
  • Descendants
  • 2 Pac
  • Eminem
  • Yonder Mountain String Band
  • Chuck Ragan
  • Clutch

Aaron Conditt – Brewer

  • When you were young.  The Killers
  • I’m your villain.  Franz Ferdinand
  • Tighten up. The Black Keys
  • Little Secrets. Passion Pit
  • Lions. The Features
  • Bukowski. Modest Mouse
  • Ready to start. Arcade Fire
  • If I ever feel better. Phoenix
  • Brother sport. Animal Collective
  • Good ‘ol fashioned nightmare.
  • Matt&Kim
  • Zombies ate my neighbors. Single File
  • New low. Middle class rut
  • Trinity. Paper Tongues
  • Strange. Built to Spill
  • The Reeling. Passion Pit.

Mike Bristol – Owner I don’t get to spend much time brewing anymore and when I do I don’t do it with my iPod (I’m usually thinking about stuff).

Do you brew? What’s on your playlist? I wonder if musical tastes and style of beer have any correlation…

Last minute entry!

Bull & Bush

Here is a little sample of what would be playing during mash-in of some of our more popular beers:

  • Royal Oil – Royal Oil by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Happy Hop Pilsner – Nagelbett by Autobahn
  • Stonehenge Stout – Stonehenge by Spinal Tap
  • Strawberry Wit – Reign In Blood by Slayer
  • Man Beer – I Can’t Believe We’re Not In Love Anymore by Michael McDonald
  • The Legend Of The Liquid Brain Imperial Stout – Books On Tape – The Bible – Oude Jan Version

There are always the fallback choices;

  • Zamphir, Master Of The Pan Flute, or anything by gg allin.

That is just a little taste of the tunes that make the brewhouse tick.

Another last minute response! Possibly my favorite…

Ska Brewing

While I do really enjoy Ska music and even met Neville from The Specials years ago at the Streets of London in Denver, I am not the connoisseur that Bill and Dave are. My musical leanings are quite varied but more to Punk Rock and Metal with some Hip Hop and Break beat thrown in for good measure, and I cannot stand Jam Bands. When I come into work and someone is listening to Phish or some equally atrocious Jam band I will change the station to some Death Metal like Goatwhore or Amon Amarth just to teach them a lesson! Right now I am listening to Turbonegro, The Pitch Invasion(Denver Punk Rock), NOFX, The Dwarves, Nuclear Assault, Misfits, Early Man and Circle Jerks just to name a few and I will always fall back to classics like Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Iron Maiden. Some days I’m in the mood for some Drag the River, Willie Nelson, Supersuckers and Hank III or Guru, Del, Brother Ali, Kool Keith and Mos Def. Basically, I like to listen to music that keeps me moving and/or in the zone while I’m working and will keep the yeast happy(yeast hate Jam bands and Hippies or so I’ve been told).

Some more late additions (no hop pun intended)

Crooked Stave

Chad: A brew day play list can be a special thing to a brewer.. When you’re a one man wrecking crew sometimes you need to keep the blood flowing.. This can be done by turning Wolfmother up as loud as possible, Tool also helps get the job done as done some Graveyard! Sometimes at 2am when no one else is at the brewery you need to have a dance party. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Heads Will Roll” will make the floor shake and your head will roll! Even some Ween can keep you on your feet during a night brew… For the days when everything in the brew is going right I like to listen to some Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead, Phish, Talking Heads, the list goes on.. maybe mix a little Head for the Hills for some great bluegrass.

Golden City Brewing

Jeff: The playlist here includes Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin among many others. Brew sessions are always wrapped up with the awesome Stranglehold by Ted Nugent.

About PJ Hoberman

PJ likes beer. A lot. And whiskey. Gin. Wine. Cocktails. Um.. what were we talking about?

  • http://cobeerandfood.com will

    Bad Religion or Miles Davis


    • Rossco

      Agreed on Miles Davis.

  • http://denverhomebrew.wordpress.com DenverHBC

    I listen to a lot of Ministry while I brew. I like it and I think it annoys my neighbor.

  • http://mutedog.freesand.com MuteDog

    Shpongle, Hybrid, Banco De Gaia, Aqua Timez, E.S. Posthumus, Anberlin, Bloc Party

    I mostly make dark malty beers or truly weird styles.

    • Rossco

      Shpongle is the best band of all time. I can say that without even hearing the music. I can’t even stop saying it. Shpongle… Shpongle… awesome.

  • Scott S

    I want some of that Ministry beer.

  • http://twitter.com/mendiola32 William

    Matt & Kim, The XX, Social Distortion, The Hood Internet.

  • http://www.coloradowomensbeerclub.wordpress.com denverbeerchick

    I let my boyfriend run pandora on the weekends. Lately there has been a lot of Pretty Lights to brew to.

    • http://denverhomebrew.wordpress.com DenverHBC

      Oh that reminds me. I recently brewed to my Gorgoroth Pandora channel. The stuff had a bite to it.

    • Rossco

      I used to run the Pandora when my girlfriend and I brewed as well… It started getting awkward though when Facebook shared information with Pandora and suddenly Pandora knew that I had been “In a relationship” for three years… suddenly it was Tom Shane telling me to buy an engagement ring every 5th song! Eventually I did give in, but sheesh!

  • Rossco

    Hey Mutedog, I’m ashamed to say I have not heard of any of those bands. Makes sense though, weird styles of beer; weird music! For me it depends on the time of year… most of the year I listen to hippie jam bands like Widespread, but in the Fall I listen to Cannonball Adderley’s jazz album “Somethin’ Else”. The first song, “Autumn Leaves” is perfect.

  • Dave

    What? No one has Todd Snyder’s “Beer Run” on their list?

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  • http://www.denveromeletteblog.com Mama Monroe

    Great idea for a post… love it.