Meet Breeze Galindo - Brewer at Indie Brewing Co.
Indie Brewing Company traces its roots back to 2009, when four guys met and bonded over a mutual love of brewing. From homebrews on an electric stovetop to a full fledged brewery and tasting room minutes from Los Angeles’ downtown area, Connor Forbes, Kevin O’Malley, Morgan Keller and James Mancuso have striven to create both a tasting room and a lineup of brews that LA deserves.
Meet Breeze Galindo, Assistant Brewer with Indie Brewing Company. Recently featured on BrewDog TV’s Brewer’s Apprentice, Breeze took a few minutes out of her busy day to give us a glimpse into her life in the craft beer industry.
It should not matter (society is its own beast) but how do people react to you as a brewer? Especially maybe some other males in the industry? Are they welcoming? Do they act resistant in the beginning?
The general response is pretty welcoming. At this point, I'm being introduced by another brewer or a staff member, so it helps with breaking the ice.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced or heard of maybe from others female brewers in getting hired as a brewer?
In the beginning, when I was expressing interest in becoming a brewer, it was quite challenging because I wasn't being taken seriously. The conversation would quickly change or it would be suggested I pick up interest in sales or event planning. It was stressed that brewing would be a dirty job with intensive labor and implied I was incapable of entering such a career path. But then there were some amazing brewers who were curious to see how serious I really was and would give me the opportunity to come in and shadow them. These were the men who helped build my stepping stone that led to my current role today. To be clear, there will always be challenges. Knowing how to overcome them is part of the process. Paying your dues, I guess one would say. As a woman, it sometimes feels like paying my dues in this industry closely resembles paying off my student loans. Never ending.
At what point did you decide "I want to brew beer?"
My first job in the industry was working for a new brewery as a beer-tender, making $10.50 an hour. To be honest, I would have taken any role, as long as it got my foot in the door. I remember walking into the brew house for the first time. The 40bbl fermenters and bright tanks made my eyes glaze over. Walking past the pallets of malt and looking up as the brewers were milling in for the upcoming brew day was when my curiosity began. Finally, the next day was when it happened. I walked into the brewery before opening hours, which was when the beer was being brewed. The malt aroma, while it was in it's mash rest, was intoxicating. Steam filled the air and as I looked up on the brew deck, there were the brewers sipping their coffee and overlooking the process taking place. Always focused. Always in tune with the product being made. This was the moment I became consumed with the thought of me being up there alongside them, brewing beer. It was my, "Oh shit, THIS is what I'm supposed to be doing for the rest of my life". It was the most beautiful moment and I'll never forget it.
Are you a member of the Pink Boot Society?
YES. YES, I AM. Going into my second year as a proud member and it is insane how empowering it feels to be surrounded by strong women who are just as passionate about this industry as I am. We are not to be taken lightly. We bad. We real bad. *Sunglasses Emoji*
What did you do for a career before you found the love to brewing.
I used to work in the dog industry. I worked for the CEO of a dog agility company. They had franchises all over the country and it was my job to assist franchise owners and their staff. This allowed me to do some traveling and it was great working with clients who were dog people.
What is unique about the beers you brew?
This is more of a personal answer than a "This is why our beer is amazing" answer. What's unique about our beer is that each batch has a story. Literally. I brew the beer and when the Brew-master hands me the brew sheet, it's my job to make sure it gets done. Each batch is a personal experience for me because I'm still learning how to become a good brewer. There are so many variables that create certain obstacles for me throughout the brew day and sometimes it becomes a bit challenging. Some days, more challenging than others. So there will be a customer drinking a beer that was an asshole to brew and I'm thinking to myself, "There she is drinking that beer that I yelled at to keep from boiling over...in Spanish, and she has no idea". So if you were to come to my brewery and order a pint of any of our beers, and if I look up the packaging date, I can tell you a story of what went down that day. I'm almost positive I'll have you at the edge of your seat.
Is brewing beer for a brewery all that you thought and hoped it would be?
Yes. I knew it would be challenging. I knew it would be overwhelming. I knew it would be labor intensive. And I knew it would all be worth it.
What was your first craft beer?
New Belgium Brewing - Fat Tire Amber Ale. I was in Ft. Collins, Colorado for the first time and this was the first stop. Holy shit, talk about life changing.
Favorite place you have ever traveled to and why?
Los Angeles might be my home. New Orleans will always be my heart. NOLA has a soul unlike any other. You're there and there's something inside of you that comes alive. You feel different. Your body begins to vibrate alongside the bars that blast brass band music. Whether you're an amazing dancer or a shitty one, in New Orleans, everyone has rhythm. Out dancing and drinking until 3 am? No problem, you can always stumble into a diner that'll serve you fried catfish, red beans and rice. Stay up partying until the next morning? No problem. Gran yourself a cup of chicory coffee, some beignets and sit alongside the by-water and watch the sun slowly illuminate the city. Finish with a bloody mary and take a nap. (Note to self: plan trip to NOLA soon)