Crux releases Banished beer Saturday

Better Off Red blends fresh brew with barrel-aged batch

There’s so much to like about the brews of Crux Fermentation Project’s Banished series.

Unique, snappy names. Classy, wax-sealed tops. And most of all, a high degree of quality and creativity inside each bottle.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Crux will host a bottle-release party for the fourth beer in its Banished series at the brewery’s tasting room (50 S.W. Division St., Bend). Better Off Red is a Flanders-style ale that blends a batch of beer that spent the past year and a half aging in Oregon pinot noir barrels with a more recently made batch, combining oak and tart cherry notes with the spicier flavors of the fresher brew. The result is a richly hued red ale that falls right in line with the rest of the barrel-aged Banished series.

Crux brewmaster Larry Sidor said part of what makes this particular brew special is the type of yeast used in the aging process.

“‘Unique’ is the best word to describe it,” he said. “It ends up being a great beer to have with food because you want it to kind of clean your palate in between bites. It’s a very unique beer from that perspective.”

Bottles are appropriately sealed with a tomato-colored wax.

In the near future, Sidor said that he’s planning to re-create past editions from the series, including Freakcake and Doublecross. Though he has no set plans for new additions to the series, he does hint at big ideas.

“I’m a big believer of putting fresh fruit in beer,” Sidor said. “I can’t wait for when marionberries and raspberries and sour cherries become available.”

Sidor said the Banished series has given him a chance to experiment with brews he’s always wanted to make.

“For me, this is the time in my career where I get to play and do things that I want to do without having anybody looking over my shoulder,” Sidor said. “I’m having fun.”

— Megan Kehoe