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Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Sounds of Heavy Metal

May 19, 2011 2 comments

A funny thing has happened since I began working at The Bruery: I’ve developed a strong preference for silence over listening to music. With my Bruery weeks and Manzanita weekends I average 4-6 hours of driving every Friday to Sunday, yet still I traverse those miles with the sound system off. It seems that this is a natural response to the brewing environment, which tends to be quite loud. We are, after all, talking about industrial production here. Dickensian working conditions these may not be, but when you’re nestled between air compressors and propane burners things get overwhelming pretty quickly. It’s not unusual to find myself screaming at Garry during the course of an otherwise pleasant conversation because of all the noise.

While brewing does cause auditory fatigue, an attentive ear is a surprisingly useful asset in a production environment. Machines speak volumes if you listen. Mills and pumps that have run dry protest loudly and with reduced bass. The keg washer hisses and splashes in various combinations as it moves through its cycle, which allows you to track its progress from anywhere in the brewery. While filling kegs you can hear the last of the carbon dioxide get ejected before the full keg begins to spray foamy beer on the floor. You also know that if you hear something out of the ordinary you should probably try to figure out the sound’s origin immediately. Just this morning my supervisor, Victor, and I were talking when he suddenly asked if I heard water running. I could only hear the decidedly unsubtle sound of wine barrels being pressure washed, but soon thereafter we realized that he had indeed heard the miniature waterfall created by sparging too hastily.

Yet the din of the machines is hardly the only culprit behind my tired ears: we also have ourselves to blame. The Bruery has an awesome sound system. The average age of the six brewery staff is 25. We listen to music and we listen LOUD; not that we have much choice if we want to hear over the aforementioned racket. You might think this somewhat masochistic but I promise it’s essential for morale. Try quickly removing 2500 lbs of spent grain from the mash tun or bottling for 8 hours straight and you too would need the boost afforded by music with a quick tempo. Some days it sounds like a nightclub in there. Sometimes a mosh pit. No matter the genre, between the music and the machinery it’s no surprise that I relish a silent drive from brewery to brewery.

…And now, the best and worst of The Bruery’s various playlists:

Worst Offenders New Favorites
An entire album of Taylor Swift Foals – Antidotes
An entire album of Linkin Park Big Business – Here Comes the Waterworks
An entire album of P.O.D. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
“The Reason” by Hoobastank Deadmau5
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