Meet Your Maker
McMenamins West Linn
Informally known as "Buckskin," West Linn's Head Brewer Jacob Willson hails from the fine state of Louisiana. Though he still roots for his favorite southern sports teams, it was Portland's beer scene that convinced him to make the 3,000-mile journey and settle in the Northwest. While in Louisiana, his beer options were limited to a small array of American domestics. While visiting Oregon, he went to our Barley Mill Pub in Portland, where after a Reuben and a pint of Terminator, he was sold on moving to this town. Before he joined McMenamins Breweries in summer 2008, Jacob was a line cook and a co-host of the late-night talk show "The Chuck N' Buck Show." These days when not brewing, he's a member of two local bands, and plays a mean game of golf as well. It's a good brew, a good tune, and a nice swing of a gap wedge that inspire him.
Along with developing meticulous cleaning habits crucial to any form of successful beer making, Jacob recommends reading and home brewing as the best way to get into the industry. Focus first on cleanliness in home brewing, and then look outside the box for your recipes, he says. Jacob has mastered the art of utilizing an odd array of materials that result in unique and delicious flavors. A fan of wheat and cream ales, he chooses these styles due to their ability to let outside flavors shine. In his tenure at West Linn, Jacob has made use of oranges, vanilla, and even bacon in these styles, much to the delight of his faithful customers. His proudest brew is his Cajun Cornbread Ale, an amber ale infused with habanero and honey.