OktoberForest: Angry Erik Brewing

The Highlands mountain range in northwestern New Jersey is known its cool, clear streams and lush forests. And both of these elements are critical to good craft beer production for Angry Erik Brewing, located smack in the heart of the Highlands landscape in Lafayette. In honor of OktoberForest, The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey is collaborating with Angry Erik to highlight the important role that forests play in protecting our clean drinking water, and by extension—in producing great beer. Here’s what owners Erik and Heide Hassing had to say.

nature.org:

Where does Angry Erik get its water?

Angry Erik:

Our water comes from an artesian aquifer in Lafayette that is part of the Highlands Watershed.

nature.org:

Tell us about how water figures into your production process?

Angry Erik:

Water is an essential part of the brewing process. Beer is made with 4 basic ingredients: Water being the majority, malt, yeast and hops. Generally speaking, if a beer is 7% ABV (alcohol by volume) then it is likely 92.9% water! Water is of course essential in the sanitizing and cleaning processes as well.

nature.org:

Do your operations include any sustainable practices?

Angry Erik:

The brewing process has relatively little waste. The spent grain left over from the mash is given to local farmers to feed their dairy cows. The water used to chill the wort via a heat exchange process is used for cleaning tanks and can be reused in subsequent batches of beer. Even the yeast can be harvested and reused.

nature.org:

The Nature Conservancy is currently working to restore the Paulins Kill, New Jersey’s third largest tributary to the Delaware River. Angry Erik makes a Paulins Kill Ale. What sparked you to create a brew named after a local river?

Angry Erik:

When we opened Angry Erik Brewing in 2014, we hoped to be close to a hiking/biking recreation area because that is what we love most about Sussex County—not only for us, but for our patrons who are often outdoor enthusiasts. We were delighted to find a location only 500 feet from the Paulinskill Valley Trail, and so that particular beer came about to celebrate our proximity to the trail and river!

nature.org:

What gives your beer a “New Jersey” touch?

Angry Erik:

We craft our beers using locally-sourced ingredients like honey, coriander, lavender, lemon verbena, jalapenos, habaneros. We are in the Garden State, after all!


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