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Crux Gets Fresh 

A short trip from hop harvest to brewing kettle

The boys at Crux Fermentation Project didn't travel far to collect their hop harvest this season.

Sticky hop cones growing on tall green vines were climbing all over Crux's chain link fence. On Labor Day, the owners and about 10 others picked bushels full of hops without ever leaving the property.

"We already have a beer called 'On the Fence' so maybe this one will have to be called, 'Off the Fence,' " says co-owner Dave Wilson with a chuckle. The hyper-local beer should be ready by this weekend.

Usually, just about this time of year, the Willamette Valley hop farmers call Central Oregon brewers, alerting them that the hop harvest is ready for pick up. At that point it's a race to get to the Valley, pick up the hops and rush back to the brewing tank in order to get the most out of the freshly picked hops. At Crux, the brewers merely walked across the parking lot.

Already on tap at Crux is the delightfully fragrant Cruxtennial Fresh Hop Belgian Pale Ale, which was made with Willamette Valley hops, primarily of the centennial variety (hence the name). Wilson said some of his buddies at 10 Barrel called saying they had extra and could Crux use them? "Yeah, done," Wilson remembers saying.

By the end of the month Crux should be pouring three fresh hop beers as it plans to repeat the popular and earthy Crystal Zwickle.

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