It depends: with whatever I’m brewing I want it infused with the atmosphere around it. Sounds kinda hokey, I know, but I genuinely want to believe that things like music and friends and general good mood lend something (if nothing but nostalgia) to the creation.
A big part of my life is heavy metal, so I tried it out with my last two beers: a ton of Mastodon, Slayer, Meshuggah, Gojira, and even Rage Against the Machine slipped in there. While I don’t want the beer pissed off I don’t want it to be aggressive and complicated. So there’s that.
When I’m with mixed company like I was for my first two beers I played a more eclectic mellow list: Florence and the Machine, The Avett Brothers, Devil Makes Three, The Decemberists, that sort of thing.
The playlist generally makes its way into my notes, too.
Great thread IMO.