This is a series on the Tap Trail where we introduce you to all the fantastic head brewers behind all the delicious beer in our town. Catch up with past articles on Aslan, Kulshan, Boundary Bay, Chuckanut, and Wander.
This week, we highlight Eric Jorgensen of North Fork Brewery.
While technically located just outside Bellingham, North Fork is the newest addition to the Fall/Winter Tap Trail passport. Inside, you’ll find the sweetest and weirdest staff, wall to wall beer collectibles, delicious food and most importantly, outstanding brews.
Owner Sandy Savage is a legend in the craft beer community, developing the main recipes still used today. Eric Jorgensen, who describes himself as “a lover of all things yeast,” started off in the kitchen and was slowly mentored by Sandy until he eventually took on the role as head brewer.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying one of Eric’s sours, do yourself a serious favor and drive down the Mount Baker Highway to North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine.
How did you first get into brewing?
I went to a strange party in Anchorage my senior year in high school and had a beer from a carboy in a bath tub. I don’t remember how it arrived in my glass, but it was good. I couldn’t believe that home brewing existed! I was never really into cheap flavorless beers, it seemed everyone drank Molson Ice back then. I was into Weinhard’s dark and Sheaf Stout, no one ever wanted to bum them off me. Winter of ’95 I moved to Colorado and started brewing with the guitar player in my crappy band Nekron 99. The first beer we brewed was a stout and while we played at a house party some college jock dude picked it up and drank it straight from the carboy. I was singing facing the crowd so I had a view of the incident, no one else noticed, we had to dump it.. but I was hooked.
What does North Fork add to the local craft beer community?
I think The North Fork adds a welcoming kind of escape to the local craft beer community. I remember thinking the first time I went there that it had some kind of magic to it, and I think it still has that feeling. I love sitting in the corner being a fly on the wall listening to the crazy things that go down at the bar.
If you could choose only one North Fork brew to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I will have to say IPA. It’s not flashy and designer hopped, it’s just a nice old school cascade IPA. Like our pizza, I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.
When you aren’t drinking at North Fork, where could we find you grabbing a pint?
I’m a big ass fan of The Local! All The Local breweries beers/fantastic food and a friendly great looking staff! It’s also the only place to get the fantastic Menace beer!
Give each Bellingham Brewery a class superlative.
I’m going old school on this one:
Wander- cutest couple
Aslan- best to take home to mom and dad
Boundary Bay- best dressed
Kulshan-most likely to take over the world
If you could grab a beer with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Maybe a wee pint or two with Salvador Dali and Nicola