Impasse Saison
Crux Fermentation Project
6.6% ABV

Crux uses open fermentation to brew this style – in the tradition of saison in the making, from the farms of the French-speaking region of Belgium - but with an ever-so-slight Northwest Twist of hoppy deliciousness. Crux Fermentation Project is out of Bend, where the craft breweries threaten to outdo one another in quality and creativity, bringing the term “craft” to a whole new level and enticing beer geeks throughout the globe to flock to this small Oregon town. This brewery seems to pay attention to all details, including sexy, minimalist label and, arguably, the best name for any brewery in the world. Ever.

Impasse pours a hazy, golden straw with a hearty, four-finger head, characteristic of the style, which mellows to a quarter-inch foam, lending to excellent lacing. The robust aroma is of pear cider, characteristic of Belgian yeast with a strong spiciness and a slight funky citrus. With medium body and strong carbonation which accentuates a well-integrated slight bitter hoppiness, the flavor is otherwise sweet, melting into fruity cider, orange and tangerine, transitioning to a strong spiciness that dominates and lingers throughout, and finishing with a lemon-rind bitterness. Estery goodness.

This tastes like something you would find at the end of the rainbow. Crux does it again.

Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
8.5% ABV, 38 IBU
Pale malt, malted wheat, and corn flakes
Magnum, Bravo and Amarillo hops

You can't help but love this beer right from the start.  This is a classy, old-fashioned label with a gorgeous color scheme.  The beer pours a bright golden straw color, hazy, with a thick Belgian-style head deserving of a traditional Farmhouse Ale - which leaves some fine lacing behind, like grandma's best doily. 

This beer isn't anything new.  It's available year-round, so one might say that it's nothing special.  But I would beg to differ.  With a slight barnyard funk to balance out the initial malt sweetness, beautiful cidery Belgian yeast character, refreshing lemon rind and tangerine, and a dry, funky finish...  Refreshing as hell in the summer, but rich enough for a winter night in front of a fire.

At 38 IBU, it may be slightly more hoppy than a traditional Belgian or French farmhouse ale, but it integrates and balances the beer well.  The use of Amarillo hops lends a great floral, fruity character without overwhelming the flavor profile or seeming out-of-place.  I don't use the term "perfect beer" lightly.  But Boulevard seemed to get this one right on all levels - and whether by intention or just dumb luck - all the details are there.