Brewing on the Road with a Coolship

With the first beer of a new series brewed with the help of Mother Nature, the brewers at Crux Fermentation Project try not to take themselves too seriously.

The brewers are experimenting with a traveling coolship, placed strategically in a trailer so it can be taken on the road.

The first experiment — with the coolship parked on the Bend, Oregon tasting room lawn overnight in December — yielded Gypsy Coolship #1. A few months in wine barrels later, and the low ABV beer was released in the tasting room in 750ml bottles. 

According to a newsletter, “The local microflora did its job, creating a subtle tartness with an intriguing funkiness — capturing what you might say is an authentic flavor of our high desert, mountain town.”

The idea behind the series is that the coolship won’t be set up in the same place twice, hence the name.

“In general, we are control freaks. A lot of great beers have been ruined by control freaks,” said Larry Sidor, co-founder and Brewmaster of Crux. “With a coolship, and in particular, one that is mobile (gypsy), all control is lost. The beer is in the hands of Mother Nature.”

Crux loads the tank onto a box truck and fills it with wort. The coolship is strapped to a trailer pulled behind a van.

“Once we park at our desired location, we pump the wort into the coolship where it sits overnight to cool and collect the local microorganisms,” said Jason Randles, Marketing Manager.

In the morning, the brewers transfer it into oak barrels after pumping it back into the tank and taking it back to the brewery.

“We have a few locations on our wish list where we’d like to set up for the next few experiments, like a local apple orchard, hop farm during harvest, and the Oregon Coast so stay tuned, Randles said.

Photo by Nate Wyeth

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