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Crux Creates PCT Porter

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Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park, California Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park, California photo courtesy of The Pacific Crest Trail Association

By Mark Larabee

It makes sense that the folks at Crux Fermentation Project, a popular small-batch brewery in central Oregon, felt a kinship to the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Given that PCT travelers are staple customers — especially during the summer months when trail hikers and horseback riders flock to the Cascades — they wanted to celebrate the trail in a very real, authentic and human way.

What better way to celebrate than to brew a craft beer named after the trail?

Crux founder and brewmaster, Larry Sidor, is a big fan of porters, calling them the ultimate comfort beer.

"Every time I have one, I wonder why my last beer wasn't a porter," Sidor said recently. "When brewed well, a porter has a smoothness combined with layers of complexity that never disappoints. I think we achieved that and more with PCT Porter."

The beer not only celebrates the trail. As Pacific Crest Trail Association sponsors, the brewery is behind efforts to maintain and protect the trail for future generations. PCTA Director of Philanthropy Angie Williamson said she was happy to welcome Crux as a PCTA partner.

“In our role of protecting and taking care of the trail and the life-changing experiences it provides, we need strong individual and business partners,” she said. “The folks at Crux understand the importance of this work.”

The nonprofit PCTA, has more than 12,000 members and is based in Sacramento, California. The association works in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and California State Parks to maintain the entire length of the PCT. The trail runs 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. In 2016, PCTA volunteers donated 104,269 hours to the trail, an in-kind value of $2.45 million.

All that dedication and hard work deserves a frosty brew.

PCT Porter drinkers surely will enjoy the beer and the packaging. The bottles, cans and carriers include artwork from the trail journals of PCT thru-hiker and supporter Kolby “Condor” Kirk. Sidor said the wanted packaging imagery to convey the human experience of the trail so that people drinking the beer might gain a deeper appreciation for the trail. Online research for PCT hiker blogs and journal entries quickly led them to Kolby, a Bend resident. It turns out that Kolby was a fan of Crux and loved the idea of celebrating the trail experience in a collaborative way.

"I'm honored that my journal artwork is featured on the PCT Porter can,” Kolby said. “To me, the label represents so many great things about Bend and the Pacific Crest Trail. It provides a visual reminder of how important the PCT is in my life and how it needs to be protected for generations to come."

Crux Fermentation Project’s beer is distributed in all three PCT states, as well as in parts of Idaho and Colorado.

“The more PCT travelers we’ve met at our tasting room and the more stories we’ve heard, the more we’ve understood the trail’s significance and felt a greater need to support it,” Sidor said. “It’s an important historic asset to our friends and community.”

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Editor's note:  Mark Larabee is the associate director of communications and marketing for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and co-author of the book, The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America’s Wilderness Trail, he lives in Portland, Oregon.

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