Larry's Curtain Call | Crux Fermentation Project
larry sidor - crux founder

Larry’s Curtain Call

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As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, our CEO, brewmaster, and co-founder, Larry Sidor, reminisced all things beer, moving forward, and leaving some things behind.  

What’s on tap for our 10th anniversary? 

“I made a malt-forward IPA that we’re calling our 10th Anniversary IPA. It’s a beer I want to drink. I don’t care if anyone else likes it.”

Oh, we’re pretty sure people will like it. It’s a classic one, a style that harkens back to the early 2000s. It’s the kind of beer Larry wants to drink. It has a malt soul and uses his favorite hops: HBC 1019, Mosaic, Citra, and Contessa, in three different ways, at three different times throughout the brewing process. 

“There’s a little bit of conflict there. The bitterness plays off each other in an interesting way. Contessa is a bittering hop that adds a  wonderful complexity, while the other hops are what you can expect to find in traditional IPAs. To some, these hops used together may be perceived as a conflict. It’s not a one-dimensional bitter beer that slaps you in the face. This 10th anniversary IPA goes beyond that, into layers to discover and unfold with each sip.”

And Larry knows his way around beer. Not only has he stood steady at the helm of Crux for the last ten years, but before that, he was brewmaster for Deschutes Brewery, Bend’s oldest craft brewery, and at Olympia Brewing as operations manager and brewmaster. So ya, you can say he knows his beer. 

Why did you start your own brewery?

“My vision for creating Crux was to make good beer. This was supposed to be my retirement!” Larry laughs, recalling 2012. “I had worked for other breweries but felt like I didn’t have creative freedom. So I made my own path. I wanted autonomy and to make the beer that I wanted to drink. I craved artistic license. And I wanted my brewing staff to feel creative too. It’s so important for them to brew without borders and feel free to fail. Some of our biggest successes have been born out of a misstep.

“Plus, I love to ferment things! I started as a winemaker.”

Larry has always wanted to push the limits of what a brewery can offer. And at Crux, you can order several different styles of beer, non-alcoholic beers, wine, cider, and our newly crafted whiskey. “We don’t just do beer, ya know?” 

What’s in a name? 

“I started Crux in 2012 with Dave Wilson and Paul Evers. We went through hell trying to come up with a name. 

“Maelstrom was a name we tossed around. It means to be swept away in whirlpool; complete chaos, but that was no good. We considered Sidedoor Brewing (a nod to Larry’s last name). But none of those felt right. Oh, we had hundreds of names, and the most significant roadblock we kept hitting was most had already been taken. So that’s when we narrowed it down. We knew we wanted our brewery name to be four letters with an X. And finally landed on Crux Fermentation Project.”

And if you notice our logo, the arrows all have different widths, which all symbolize the four ingredients of beer: hops, malt, yeast, and water. The crux can be the most challenging part of a climbing route or the center of something.

“It’s the intersection. And we liked that. We are in the middle of Bend. And so it just fit for us.”

So what’s next?

“After 40 plus years in the brewing industry, I’m stepping away from the day-to-day operations at Crux. I am handing the reins over to our head brewer, Cam O’Conner. My focus will be on a more global picture of the business. I’ll still sit on the board, and I’m comfortable knowing the brewery will be in capable hands. We’ve brewed over 6,350 beers, we’ve made cider, wine, non-alcoholic beers, and whiskey! To me, Crux is just getting started.

“As for me, I’m looking forward to mapping out some travel with my wife, and heading up to Alaska for the summer. I’m ready to pass the legacy. You have to get off the horse before you fall off.”

“It’s been a good ride.” — Larry Sidor