Meet the Team – Joe Williams

What is your official title at Hop & Barrel?

I am a beertender and have been with Hop & Barrel from day 1 when they opened. I was even here for their soft opening in December. Before the grand opening the guys decided “Hey, we have beer, and everything is set and ready to go, so why not?” and they were packed!

How did you learn about Hop & Barrel?

I live in Hudson and drove past it daily so I saw it up and coming. I messaged them on Facebook and told them that I felt my charisma and character would be a great fit, then Justin got back to me right away. He later admitted to stalking me on social media.

Why craft beer and brewing?

Truthfully, I haven’t always enjoyed beer. One of my buddies made it his New Years resolution to get me to like beer. So we started trying it all, and oddly enough a coffee stout is what got it all started.

My dad lives in north central Iowa near Mason City so he will take a Saturday and drive up to meet me in the twin cities and we will spend the day hitting breweries. I think we’ve hit 75 total between the twin cities and other states.

Even Bruce Wayne had a day job besides being Batman, what’s yours?

Nowadays I am a high school teacher by day, and beertender by night. I teach high school English in Ellsworth. I originally graduated college with a communications and PR degree and then worked in travel insurance, but I really didn’t enjoy corporate America. Growing up I lived all over – Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon, California, and Wisconsin. My mom was a teacher and while she was living in California I decided to attend Cal State Long Beach for my teaching credentials, from there Wisconsin was by far my favorite that is why I chose to make it my home.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get asked if I own the place a lot, the answer is no. I spend most of my time behind the bar engaging our patrons in conversation and finding out more about them. I am here to smile and pour beer. I like to make people feel special and like they are somewhere they can relax and be themselves and enjoy a good beer.

What is your favorite Hop & Barrel beer?

Chads Mosaic Pale Ale. All time favorite. However, you do always gotta have that fridge beer for someone who helps you mow you yard, like Space Dust by Elysian. Another new Hop & Barrel favorite of mine is the Space Force, it’s a juice IPA.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I lead student trips every other year with the high school. I’ve traveled to Belize, Portugal and Spain, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. I also enjoy traveling on my own, I recently traveled to St. Lucia with my girlfriend.

What is something people may not know about you?

It’s not a secret, but I’m obsessed with soccer. Specifically the premiere league over in England. I want to go this next summer. I’m a huge Liverpool fan and I’ve played soccer my entire life. I really talk about it way more than I should.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, my girlfriend and I have a dutch shepherd mix named Attie, named after Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

What is your favorite food?

Hmm, that is a good question – a really good burger. The weirdest thing I ever ate was in Nicaragua on a mission trip. It’s a right of passage to eat bull testicles.

To hear an audio version of this article, click below. 

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