Weekend in review: Crux, Whole Foods, and shandy

The weekend kicked off Friday evening with the tapping of Crux Fermentation Project‘s first-ever brewed beer, a Northwest Pale Ale dubbed “Just in Time.” The tapping was happening at 6pm and we got there a bit early to score some seats and I enjoyed a Bayern Pilsener while the crowd gathered and the beer was prepped.

This is the beer that was brewed two weeks ago but wasn’t yet ready for the grand opening last weekend. Since I hadn’t made it to the grand opening celebration, I was happy to get to be among the first to try the new Pale Ale.

At 6pm, the beer started flowing and each of the three partners (Larry Sidor, Paul Evers, and Dave Wilson) said a few words.

Crux Pale Ale tapping

Crux Pale Ale tapping

Crux Pale Ale tapping

(Apologies for the lower-quality phone pics, I was on the other side of the room snapping them and had forgotten to bring the regular camera.)

The beer itself, Just in Time, is a sessionable Northwest Pale Ale (4.7% abv I believe) which is full of piney, resiney aroma hops and has a similar piney bitterness on the palate—but it’s a light touch (as befitting a pale ale) and is nicely balanced. Even as aromatic as it is, there was no dry hopping of the beer.

Just in Time Northwest Pale Ale

On Saturday we popped in to the Whole Foods Brewfest for a bit, before it got too crowded and beating the heat of the day (though it was still plenty hot). Cost was $5 (if you were drinking beer, otherwise it was free entry), which included 2 tokens, and additional tokens were only 50 cents apiece! This is the best Fest deal I’ve seen anywhere I think, considering each token was worth a standard 4oz. pour.

Whole Foods Brewfest

Of the beers I sampled, I mostly stuck with lighter, hot-weather-appropriate picks. First was Logsdon’s Kili Wit, which is fantastic (one of the best American Witbiers I’ve had), followed by Full Sail’s current Brewer’s Share Berliner Weisse (purely sour, without syrup). From there I moved over to Harvester Brewing, based out of Portland and brewing exclusively gluten-free beers, a category I’m definitely curious about (and I hadn’t previously tasted their beers).

I tried the Dark Ale and the Experiment Ale. All of their beers are brewed prominently with chestnuts sourced locally and roasted in-house, with sorghum making up the balance. However unlike many sorghum-brewed beers, these didn’t have the plasticy, band-aid tang that sorghum by itself seems to have; they were pleasantly roasty which seemed to be the chestnut version of “malty” in this case. The Dark looked like a brown ale and was very coffee-like, and the Experient Ale was a lighter raspberry-puree-infused beer which was fruity but still had a bit of roast. Altogether not bad at all, some of the best non-sorghum-tasting GF beers I’ve tasted (that still have sorghum).

After that I hit up Three Creeks for some Stonefly Rye (light and drinkable and tasty) and finally Finn River Cider to try the Dry Hopped Cider (a dry cider with interesting floral/herbal hop character). Since the kid that was with us was getting extremely bored, and the heat was getting more intense, we decided to head out. But it was a really good showing by Whole Foods overall.

Whole Foods Brewfest

Whole Foods Brewfest

Sunday was a mellow day, but I did have one brainstorm: Shandy!

Shandy!

Perfect beer drink for a hot day! Sorry purists, but I went there. Mixed up some lemonade, and then combined it roughly half-and-half with a Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA. The result? Delicious! Chainbreaker is a great shandy base. Will be doing that again!

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