Photo: Will Ehrenreich
Dec 11, 2020
How the Other Half brews
'As far as I know, I'm only one of two Latina brewers in America,' says Breeze Galindo.
The face of craft beer makers in America is usually male, almost always bearded and typically pretty white. Breeze Galindo is changing that, one pour at a time. A native Californian with an improbable name, the millennial Latina was recruited to the Borough of Kings from the City of Angels in the middle of last year. Since then, Galindo has been a brewer at Other Half Brewing Company’s Gowanus outpost. She sat down with Brooklyn Magazine to discuss brewing in Brooklyn—and representation in brewing.
How did an LA girl end up in Brooklyn?
On Memorial Day, 2019, I was working as a brewer in LA, and I had just finished a long-ass shift. My friend from work said the general manager from Other Half in Brooklyn was out in LA with some other important people from the industry. We went over to where they were hanging out to have some beers and network. That’s what I do.
Have beers or network?
Both. I knew Other Half was a big deal, but I’d never met Geriz, the GM. He’s a big, football-player sized dude, and I’d heard he was not such a warm person, pretty standoffish, if you don’t know him. But my mentality going in, always, is that you may be cold right now, but you’re going to love me by the end of the night. Sure enough, we met up the next day and I showed him around my brewery. We went to a Dodgers game and just had a great time. A few weeks later, I was on a first date, and I got a text from Geriz asking if I was interested in coming to Brooklyn to work at Other Half, in, like, two weeks.
So much for that date…
Yeah, he was so cute, too, but I couldn’t pass on this opportunity to work at a big time brewery like Other Half.
How do you like Brooklyn?
I love Brooklyn. It reminds me of LA because the buildings are small. I live near Prospect Park, and the whole area is gorgeous. I love the brownstones. I love the coffee shops. I love the people. Before the pandemic, I’d get off my shift around 1:00 in the morning and go to The Double Windsor, near where I live, and just shoot the shit with the bartender and other people there until closing. It’s just the way you can talk to people and create friendships in Brooklyn. I also like how Brooklyn offers all types of cultures in such short distances. Just like in LA, you have little pockets of cultures that are a stone’s throw away from each other. Even biking around Prospect Park, you hear the different music and smell the different foods. I love that. That’s what Brooklyn is to me.
And how’s the job?
The job is the best. No regrets. It was so hard at first because the places I’ve worked before were more routine. For the most part, we made the same beers day in day out. But there’s nothing routine about Other Half. There’s always a new beer coming out, a new stout or a new adjunct. Nothing’s ever the same. It’s always different. And that’s why I love Other Half so much. No matter what you pick, it’s always going to be an awesome experience.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is feeling accomplished at the end of my shift. I can say that beer that you’re drinking, I brewed that. I dry hopped it and cleaned the tank where it fermented. But I also know that I didn’t do it alone. Brewing has such a family feel to it. You feel like you’re part of something. Because of how I grew up in my culture and how we are, we are very family oriented, so coming from a place like LA, across the country to work for a brewery, not knowing anybody, Other Half became my family. I get to do something with people I consider my friends and my family now. We can create an experience for a consumer, and we’re doing it together. That’s very rewarding to me, and it’s great to see when people post pictures and tag me in it and they tag Other Half. It’s a work in progress all the time, but you guys get to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Are you under any pressure from your new family to grow a beard?
Not everyone has a beard!
But you are the only woman?
I’m the only woman brewer at Other Half in Brooklyn, but our lead brewer in the Finger Lakes is a woman, and we just hired a woman to brew in our new DC location. But as far as I know, I’m only one of two Latina brewers in America.
Does this motivate you in any way?
Hell yeah, I’m representing women of color in this industry. It’s important that we are seen in communities like Latino-dominated communities or African American dominated communities. I’ve realized that my job isn’t just being an assistant brewer. It’s also setting an example. It’s representation. It’s making a change, making a difference. I feel like that’s the real work, me trying to be something in this industry.
And how do you go about this beyond just making really good beers?
Well, I’m out there. A lot. I go to events, not so much these days, and post and just keep up a profile that can serve as an example. I make sure that I’m visible in the community and at large. I’m also an active member of the Pink Boots Society, an NFP that represents women in the brewing profession. And, so exciting, I was just asked to be a board member of the Michael Jackson Foundation!
No. It’s actually the Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling, named after the famous beer writer from England. The foundation was started by Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, and its intention is to bring more diversity into the industry. So, through things like this, I’d like to leave a mark on behalf of Other Half not just as a brewer but also someone who makes a difference.
Cool. So you’re here to stay.
I’d like to stay if it doesn’t price me out. You hear that Brooklyn?
Last question: What do you miss most about LA?
You might also like
Spirits, street art and scavenger hunts: 14 things to do this weekend
Arts & Leisure
Arts & Leisure