Focused on Brewing: Chris Baum

Focused on Brewing: Chris Baum

[Part of the #wearebalebreaker series] The scientific method could be considered Chris Baum’s brewing compass. Fourteen years as a wildlife biologist honed his keen observational skills, as well as a respect for process and technique. A lifetime of drinking beer, thinking of beer, and now making beer, has certainly helped, too.

One of the brewers at Bale Breaker since August 2016, Chris’ passion for quality and consistency makes him a valuable part of the team. His mad brewing skills will take him to Varietal Beer Company in 2018, a brewery he is co-founding in Sunnyside, WA. Read up on what it’s like to become a brewer in the Yakima Valley, and what he won’t leave home without.

How did you get into beer?
Drinking it! I brewed my first homebrew in 2003. Beer-making is one of the most fun activities you can do while beer-drinking, of course. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. Every day off from my full-time wildlife biologist gig, I was brewing. Eventually, I met Chad Roberts, who was head brewer at Snipes, went to work for him, and one thing lead to another…me being head brewer there after Chad went to work at YCH Hops, and then bring hired here.

Is working at a brewery different than you thought?
Brewing is way more work than I thought it would be.

Tell me about Varietal Brewing Co.
Chad [Roberts] and I have talked about starting a brewery since we met. We’ve since teamed up with John Cope, Karl Vanevenhoven and David Paulson to make it a reality. When The Port of Sunnyside reached out about us locating there, that’s when things really got moving. Making really good beer is a serious investment, and I can’t wait to be doing it for myself. Varietal will be hop and wild beer focused, so look forward to sours, fruit beers, and a strong barrel aging program.


Three words to describe working at Bale Breaker:
Fun. Sweaty. Topcutter.

If you had to leave your house forever with only three possessions (all people & pets are safe), what do you take?
Leatherman, travel coffee mug, binoculars (for bird-watching)

Worst book you read in school
Tender is the Night. Hated it.

Fave food to make at home?
Carnitas with shredded cabbage, cilantro, and Marie Sharp’s hot sauce.

Posted June 08, 2017

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