Jared Williamson is no slouch. The Indiana native got turned on to brewing while working at New Albanian Brewing Company in New Albany, Indiana in 2005. “One day they finally taught me how to use the keg washer, and the rest is history,” he told STL Beer Bulletin. At NABC, he learned everything from brewing to marketing to distribution to tax and TTB.
As lead brewer at Schlafly, where he’s worked since 2011, Williamson manages operations at both the Taproom and Bottleworks locations. His innovative brews include Schlafly’s Single Malt Scottish Ale, painstakingly blended and aged in Scotch casks, and The Variant, an imperial stout-based beer aged in port barrels. Somehow he also found time to pose for Schlafly’s 2016 Beard Calendar. (Williamson shared an umbrella with fellow brewer and co-Mister April, Charles Stockstrom.)
We caught up with Williamson to learn what he thinks about IPA fads, and how his life motto might just be “drink it fresh.”
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
1. What’s your desert-island beer?
Schlafly’s new year-round IPA, fresh from the bright tank. (I have an imaginary brewery on this imaginary desert island.) Its a sessionable IPA at 5 percent ABV, has a beautiful hop profile with tropical and citrus notes, and doesn’t kill your palate with bitterness. Just great hop flavor and aromatics.
2. What’s the beer that made you fall in love with beer?
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. That beer literally made me say, “this is beer too!?”, after being exposed to the likes of Icehouse, Red Dog, and Saint Pauli Girl. Yes, it was the ’90s.
3. FMK three beer types: IPA, pilsner, sour?
F: IPA. I love hoppy beers, but there’s a lot of other fish in the sea. So many IPA fads come and go, it’s hard to make a long-term commitment to a beer style that loses its aromatic luster after a month.
M: Pilsner. Refined yet hoppy, a true testament to the history of proper brewing, pils is always there when you need it. This is a beer style you can trust for the long haul.
K: Sour. I like sour beers but they don’t lend themselves to long sessions, and I like beers that I can session on, and somebody had to be the K.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your last supper beer?
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Might as well come full circle to finish it off.
5. You can only drink one beer for the rest of your life. What is it?
Fresh IPA from the bright tank on my imaginary desert island. Drink it fresh. Ask me tomorrow and you’ll get a different answer.
6. What’s the best and worst beer in your fridge right now?
Best is a fresh Schlafly IPA, bottled a week ago. (Drink it fresh!) Worst is a six-month old double IPA that I found in the back of the fridge. It’s most likely oxidized, and the hops have completely faded. I apologized to that bottle for forgetting about it. I didn’t drink it fresh.
7. If you could no longer drink beer, what would be your beverage of choice?