Twenty years ago, Tulsa attorney Jason Aamodt was introduced to the White River in nearby Norfork, Arkansas. The trout fishing haven became like a second home for him. Then a gift of a home brewing kit about a decade ago sparked another passion. He married a background and formal training in chemistry with law, a passion for beer and the beauty of north central Arkansas in 2018 with the founding of Norfork Brewing Co., which sells Nature’s Beer, a collection of four distinct brews with roots in the Ozarks.
The Woodsman Pilsner is brewed with a patented yeast derived from wild paw paw fruits that grow along the banks of the White River.
“Paw paw is a fruit that is near and dear to my heart,” Aamodt says, describing its taste as a mix of mango and banana. “When you pop open the can of the Woodsman Pilsner, the smell and taste take you right to the Ozark National Forest. Wine has terroir — and that comes from the yeast in the vineyard. We remade that with beer.”
The EZ Ryder Lager is a traditional American lager. Scurvy Dog Ale, a New England IPA, has notes of grapefruit and orange. The Black Oak Stout is a recipe that dates to Aamodt’s home brewing days.
Norfork Brewing Co. started in 2018 as a small, one-barrel taproom for those who frequent the pristine White River and North Fork River. Today it’s a 15-barrel brewhouse. Recipes only use U.S. grown non-GMO grains, locally foraged fruits and water from the Ozarks’ limestone aquifers.
Nature’s Beer can be found in several Tulsa shops and restaurants, including Albert G’s Bar-B-Q and McNellie’s downtown. A complete list is available at nfbrew.com.
This spring in Oklahoma, Nature’s Beer will release Bury Your Nut Brown Ale, a play on the brewery’s outdoor theme and squirrel mascot. Aamodt, who also is an assistant professor of practice at Oklahoma State University, says it is already popular in Arkansas.