Every year Fort George Brewery of Astoria, Oregon invites two other breweries to collaborate on a special beer: 3-Way IPA. Well, it’s that time of year again. This year the guest collaborators included Reuben’s Brews of Seattle and Great Notion Brewing of Portland. Today marks the initial release of the beer at Fort George Brewery, with release parties in Seattle and Portland scheduled for early June. Expect to see 3-Way IPA in 16-oz cans on the shelves of local bottleshops very soon.
The beer is described as juicy and smooth. Seeing that the grain bill includes wheat and oats, expect this one to be hazy. Some folks might call it a New England Style IPA, but I prefer the term Newfangled IPA. The object is to make an IPA that is less bitter and more juicy, where the hazy appearance is the byproduct of ingredients like wheat and oats, which actually helps suspend hop character and also provides a silky-smooth mouthfeel. When done right, the murk has a purpose. The “haze craze” is a topic for another day..
Speaking of hops, the hop bill includes four different varieties: Azacca, Strata, Mosaic and Citra. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Strata. Previously it was known as X331, an experimental variety developed by Oregon State University that is currently available in limited quantities to a limited number of breweries. Hopefully it will become more widely available in the future. It’s a good one. Passion fruit, mango, very tropical and juicy.
Here’s the press release from Fort George.
3-Way IPA Electrifies the Summer
A Fort George Collaboration with Reuben’s Brews & Great Notion
[Astoria, Oregon] Fort George’s 3-Way IPA has become a signal for the start of summer. Once a year Fort George extends an invitation to two breweries, chosen for their mastery in the art of IPAs. The goal is to come together, exchange knowledge, forge lasting friendships, and along the way create an IPA that everyone is excited to drink. That collaboration is then brewed, packed into a brilliant new 16-ounce can, and sent out for the pure enjoyment of the Pacific Northwest.
This year’s 3-Way IPA collaboration has been in development since last year. The owner/brewers from Reuben’s Brews (Seattle, WA) and Great Notion Brewing (Portland, OR) traveled out to the far-northwest tip of Oregon in early November. As is tradition, guests were treated to the completely unique Astoria experience. While details of that night remain hazy, everyone was up and ready to meet the following morning.
Day two is when the real heavy lifting began. Hidden away among the aging barrels in the Lovell Building at Fort George, all three parties sat down to sample beer and pitch recipe ideas for this year’s 3-Way IPA. The general style was agreed upon: juicy, light in color, juicy & fruit-forward, extra juicy, with oats and wheat for a smooth, juicy mouthfeel. Hop varieties were recommended. Yeast strains were discussed. Each suggestion was offered with a corresponding beer sample. Trays and trays of glassware went back and forth from the Lovell Taproom until the meeting table was an obstacle course of crowlers and cans.
At the end of the day a consensus was reached. Azacca, X331 (now called Strata), Mosaic, and Citra were picked for the hop additions. And with months until the release date, multiple test batches were scheduled utilizing a variety of yeasts. Throughout the Beta IPA test batch process, seven small batches were brewed with hands-on participation from everyone. Copious notes were sent after every batch: subtle adjustments to temperatures, dry-hopping schedules, cuts in malts, can we make it more hoppy, CAN WE MAKE IT MORE JUICY?!? The participation among collaborators was unprecedented, and each batch was a chance to learn, refine, and perfect another pint.
Now it is mid-May and the fermenters are filling. This fruit-forward haze of Azacca, X331, Mosaic, and Citra hops plays on a balanced bassline of malt with a wicked unfiltered keytar solo. 3-Way IPA 2017 is a juicy collaboration that strikes a smooth, electric gold riff on a Vermont style. Look for 3-Way IPA releasing in Astoria for Memorial Day Weekend and throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning June 1st. Join all three collaborators at the following 3-Way IPA release parties:
Astoria 3-Way IPA Trolley Tour
When: Thursday, May 25th from 6pm to 9pm
Where: 39th Street Riverwalk Trolley Stop in Astoria
What: Your trolley ticket buys a tour on Old 300 for a private night along the Astoria Riverwalk including stops for hop-forward pints from Reuben’s, Great Notion, and Fort George. The final destination is the Captain’s Suite at Pier 39 for the absolute freshest 3-Way IPA you will ever get, canned only hours before at Fort George Brewery.
How: Tickets are $30 and space is limited. Reserve your seat at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fort-george-3-way-ipa-2017-release-party-ipa-trolley-tour-tickets-34286541970.
Portland 3-Way IPA Release Party
When: Friday, June 9th from 6pm to 9pm
Where: Alberta Street Pub, 1036 NE Alberta St.
What: Join Fort George, Reuben’s, and Great Notion as they kick-start Portland Beer Week. Live music from Portland supergroup Boys II Gentlemen plus plenty of taps from the collaborators including 3-Way IPA.
How: No cover. Robot costumes are optional, but highly recommended.
Seattle 3-Way IPA Release Party
When: Saturday, June 10th from 5pm to 9pm
Where: Reuben’s Brews, 5010 14th Ave. NW
What: Reuben’s hosts the 3-Way IPA festivities, and they’ll have plenty of Great Notion and Fort George on tap along with 3-Way IPA. Live music mix from DJ Draft Punk.
How: No cover with a chance of a laser lightshow.
For more information about Fort George’s 3-Way IPA go to: fortgeorgebrewery.com/3-way. Available at Pacific Northwest venues starting June 2017 — drink fresh and keep those cans cold-stored.
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