March 24, 2012

Yet to be named named Crux

The beauty thing about blogs is that it allows bloggers to break news instantaneously. Reflexively, the bad thing about writing for someone else's print or online publication is that you have to wait for them to publish it. Hence, I've been scooped by my friends like Lisa Morrison, the Beer Goddess, and Jon Abernathy at The Brew Site, in regards to the official name of Larry Sidor's new brewery, crux Fermentation Project. The kicker is that while I didn't get the press release they evidently sent out, I was told I was the first to hear the new name and see the new logo by one of Sidor's partners, Dave Wilson, while at the new brewery. (I had been to the site--a former Aamco station--the day before but returned to retrieve a baby blanket I'd left there when taking pictures of my baby Izzy with the 3 owners, also including Paul Evers.
Dave asked me not to tell anyone yet, but that I could include it in my Mar 30 post for Willy Week. OK, so I kept my word and didn't break the story--fine--but I DID snap the first and only photo of, L-R above: Wilson, Sidor (former brewmaster at Deschutes), and Evers. Take that. Hence, this is now going on my blog instead of WWeek this week, where I hope to vaguely-somewhat break another OR brewery story. Anyway, here's what I'd written about cruz Fermentation Project based on my visit this past week:

...We’re looking at a yet to be named brewery going by the moniker Yet to Be Named and operating as 856 Brewing Co., LLC (see Dave's hat, left), also from a Deschutes alum. This time its brewmaster Larry Sidor, and one of his two partners—like a volcano overstuffed with magma or Diet Coke that’s had Mentos introduced—couldn’t contain the pressure to keep the official name a secret and spilled the secret name: crux Fermentation Project. Not Crux Brewing Co, mind you.

Sidor, Dave Wilson and Paul Evers provided a tour of the 10-hectolitre (8-point-something barrels; it’s really high time America goes metric) brewery still under construction but with a target opening date of “mid June.” Located at the very center of Bend near Arizona Ave and Hwy 97 (at the crux of town you could say), the pub will open with 10 taps—only three of which will be house beers (and even when they reach their goal of 20 taps, a variety of guest beers will always be available). As for those house beers, Sidor didn’t disclose exactly what they’ll be, but did proclaim his love of variety and experimentation. They will eschew rigid styles, but will approximate farmhouse saisons that espouse open fermentation, Northwest hoppy ales, and a cornucopia of barrel aged projects. Indoor seating will be limited (given that the brewpub is housed in a former Aamco station) but the outdoor area is spacious enough for the planned Bocce court. Fear not if you just can’t make it down to Bend, offerings will make their way to Portland via corked-and-caged 375-mL, 500-mL, and 750-mL bottles (again, very metricsexual). As for the name which succinctly captures the crucial core of what they believe a brewery should be about, crux also gets to what their offerings are all about: Primarily using the four basics of brewing (malt, hops, yeast, water), as well as exploring their possible directions (um, I believe they were gravity, color, flavor, and maybe IBUs). As for "Fermentation Project" over "Brewing Company," the partners want it to be an ongoing experiment creating unique art, more than a factory producing a never-changing unit.

Can't wait to check 'em out later this summer. And another thing not contained in the official release but a topic of conversation I particularly enjoyed and also gets to the heart of what this project is all about, all three of the owners are devoted family men. All would love to see their kids grow up in the brewery, learn the ropes, develop a passion for the business, and lead it into a second generation company (far, far down the road). For Izzy's part, I vowed to return with him to crux on his 21st b-day and buy him his "first" beer.

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