Yearly IPA Collaboration a Way To Exchange Knowledge, Form Friendships

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It’s become a ritual for Fort George Brewery. To kick off the summer, the brewery will release a new IPA called “3-Way” which includes the talents of two other breweries.

Fort George invited Seattle’s Reuben’s Brews and Great Notion Brewing of Portland for this year’s upcoming iteration, which is a hazy juicebomb of an IPA in the Vermont/Northeasten style.

“The goal is to come together, exchange knowledge, forge lasting friendships, and along the way create an IPA that everyone is excited to drink,” said Fort George’s Brad Blaser.

Blaser shared that the collaboration with the three breweries have been in development since last year. Owners and brewers from both Reuben’s Brews and Great Notion Brewing traveled to the far northwest tip of Oregon in early November to begin the process.

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All three parties sat down to sample beer and pitch recipe ideas. That’s when the general style was agreed upon: a light, fruit-forward IPA with oats and wheat for a smooth, extra juicy mouthfeel. Hop varieties were recommended. Yeast strains were discussed and 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,” Blaser noted.

At the end of the day a consensus was reached. Azacca, X331 (now called Strata), Mosaic, and Citra were picked for the hop additions.

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 involved.

“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,” Blaser said. “The participation among collaborators was unprecedented, and each batch was a chance to learn, refine, and perfect another pint.”

After all the test batches, the final version was created in early May and the beer will be ready for Memorial Day weekend.

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