Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Natalia Laird

I had the privilege to meet Natalia a few weeks ago at The Guild re-opening. All I can say is Nat and Ian are a pretty fun couple to be around. It's really reflected in the interview.  You'll be able to meet them yourselves at our second #pdxbeergeeks meet-up in February for a meet the brewers event hosted by The Guild.

The "Nat" of Natian Brewery
Name: Natalia Laird, otherwise known as Nat.

Hometown: Born in Seattle, Washington but moved away really young – my Dad was in the Navy – so I spent 11 years of my childhood in Charleston, SC then back to the Seattle area in junior high and then onward to Jacksonville, Florida in high school.

Favorite Beer: I’m going to be cliché here and say “I CAN’T just pick ONE! (insert giggle)” because I can’t. I have a special place in my heart for Bitburger Pilsner and Yuengling.  I had a beer from Heater Allen at Bailey’s maybe two years ago and I want to say it was their Vienna Lager – I really, really, really lurved that beer. I didn’t order any other beer that night but that one – it was that good, I didn’t want to stop drinking it. Now I don’t see what I had on their website, so maybe it was a seasonal but I still look for it when I go out and about. Also, I la-la-love Pumpkin Ales - I crushed hard for Flat Tail’s Pumpkin Stout.  I love Pelican’s IPA – that’s usually a go- to 22oz bottle buy & I wish I saw it on draft more often.

I love the beers we make because, um, I have to believe in my product, right?! The Lumberjane Stout and the Old Grogham Winter IPA – they’re just such big delicious beers that I could drink all night, or at least attempt to without blacking out and waking up the next morning surrounded by Taco Bell wrappers – because that may have happened and maybe more than once. But, I guess there are worse things to wake up being surrounded by…

Favorite Beer Haunt: Can I say my house? I like to be at home drinking beer, with my cats, crocheting and watching Netflix. (Have people stopped reading this now?)

When I’m not at home, with my cats, crocheting with Intervention streaming on Netflix… I love going out to Laurelthirst Public House and watching the bands play, meeting up with friends because everyone and their brother’s mother is there and you will always, without a doubt, run into them. And people watching – it’s always a good time.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think?  Here are my shunning moments revealed. I was late to the craft beer scene party. Or maybe my invite was sent to the wrong address…

I drank beer and enjoyed it but never really fell head over heels for it – I think it was mostly because I had no idea what I “should” have been drinking. I’d go down the beer aisle and be overwhelmed with the choices so I would usually bypass it and go straight for the Cook’s Brut Champagne and call it a night.  And then I met Ian. I would bring over my bottle of Champagne (no glass required!) to his house and we would have dance parties to the Talking Heads and laugh, a lot, mostly at his dance moves and then my bottle would eventually run dry. He then proceeded to pop open a bottle of his Pumpkin Ale homebrew for me to try and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting – not because I had consumed an entire bottle of Champagne and my taste buds were as slurry as my brain mechanisms – but because I had never tasted anything like that before. I would continue to go over to his house, sans Champagne, and drink his stash of Pumpkin Ale homebrew, and tolerate his company. Once the stash was emptied, I had not only warmed up to Ian, but I emerged out of my Champagne cocoon into a craft beer butterfly.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: I never homebrewed on my own - I would always help Ian out when he homebrewed but never brewed solo until I “brewery-brewed.”

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Good ‘ole Facebook! Then I officially heard and met Michael from pdxbeergeeks at The Guild Public House’s grand re-opening.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  It means learning. There are so many styles and hops and grains and yeast and the different ways they all interact with each other during all stages of the brewing process. I like being able to drink a beer and try figuring out what I’m tasting and why – especially with other people – and getting different takes on what other people taste or what people like and don’t like compared to my take. It’s like a science project in a pint.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be?  In my opinion, people spend too much time on criticizing what they don’t like about beer – I say if you don’t like it then don’t drink it and move on.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?  That you can go any bar and find a craft beer. That one can go into a restaurant, like Hawthorne Hophouse

Where can we find you on the web?