It begins, two weeks of relaxed exploring and discovering: geology, history, wine, beer, and whatever else comes our way. We start in Bend, Oregon with the theory that we will stay close to civilization for the first night to be sure we have everything working… will let you know how that works for us in the next installment.
We got the trailer parked and headed to dinner, too hungry to wait for a structured dinner we decided to take advantage of Crux Fermentation Project (http://www.cruxfermentation.com). It is a steel building, full of fermentation tanks, a bar with seating, some picnic-style tables inside and out. It is Father’s Day at a family friendly place, of course it is busy!
From flavorful German Lagers through Pinot Noir Barrel aged Dark Belgian Ale we were impressed. I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t like it – if you aren’t a big beer drinker – the short take is these beers are very smooth, complex, lively and flavorful, all of them.
There are lots of beers on tap, we managed to sample 12 – no mean feat when some of them are 10 & 11 ABV. As with wine tasting, the lighter, less bold first. Prowell Springs Pre-Prohibition Lager and the Marxen Bier, both Lagers with rich, off-white heads, straw-colored (no copper-color) and 5.5 ABV the first citrus and malty and the second floral and herbal to compliment the malt.
Pale ales & IPA’s with different hops combinations provided lots of variety, all of which were terrific! Hubby prefers the traditional citrus flavored IPA’s but I tend to favor the floral, herbal and pine hops. The temperature of the beers influenced the hops most prominently tasted, but none of them were out of balance.
Belgian and Scottish Ales, light and dark were true to form and great tasting. My mushroom and goat-cheese wrap went well with the pale, lighter Belgian Ale.
The Strong Dark Belgian Ale (11% ABV), ‘Doublecross’, is super sweet with the dark candi sugar added but when it is aged a year in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels (now 12% ABV) the beer mellows to fruit-leather! (It is possible that a recent tasting of a delicate sherry was brought instantly to mind as well.).
Freakcake is another barrel aged beer called Oud Bruin (English Brown aged?) that brought out fresh red fruits with a terrific malty balance.
Biggest drawback was the line for the single bathroom available, especially after drinking water with my beers and dinner to be sure to stay hydrated! But we have lunch in the frog since dinner was so large.