Logistics of a Three-Way Brewery Collab

photo by Tristan Paiige

The staff of Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon is constantly on the lookout for potential collaborations with other breweries.

After traveling the Pacific Northwest every year, the brewers pick out their favorite breweries and decide on two to collaborate with for the next 3-Way IPA.

If we strike up a friendship or really like what they are doing, we make a note,” said Fort George’s Brad Blaser. “Usually in late summer the brewers and owners decide who to contact about the next collaboration.”

Next, the collaborating breweries are invited to a meet-up in the fall.

For this year’s 3-way IPA, Fort George chose to partner with Cloudburst Brewing (Seattle) and Ruse Brewing (Portland).

“We hang out for three days, get to know each other, drink beer together, talk about beer recipes and what we all want in this year’s version, dial in a good starting test batch, then brew several test batches over the winter/spring,” Blaser said.

Called Beta IPA, each batch is given a number. This year, it was Beta IPA 18.0 through 18.7.

photos by Tristan Paiige

“All of the breweries sample each batch and give feedback,” Blaser said. “Adjustments are made, right up until the brewing moves to the larger system. The first official batches of 3-Way IPA start to get canned and kegged just before Memorial Day Weekend.”

As an addition this year, the dominant dry hop will change throughout 3-Way IPA brewing runs and will be printed on the bottom of each can for consumers to see.

The summer seasonal has been around for seven years, with Patrick Long of Portland designing the cans. The first cans had a musical theme with caricatures of the owners of the breweries. Since then, the designs have started featuring animal representations of the owners instead, with their logos incorporated.

3-Way IPA was just released in Astoria at a small festival May 26, and the other breweries are also hosting release parties at their respective locations on May 31 and June 1.

Fort George normally distributes in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, but keeps 3-Way IPA localized. Each batch is divided and allocated to each brewery throughout the summer.

“It’s a fun project, and we really enjoy meeting and working with some great brewers,” Blaser said. “But we also learn from each other. New brewing techniques. New ingredients. We even pick each other’s brains about marketing and the business side.”

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