Welcome to No Corporate Beer, Decibel’s new beer-spotting, consumer guide where we drink a beer and a then review it. Now that we’ve established that complex formula, let’s do this:
Beer: 3-Way IPA
Brewery: Fort George/Holy Mountain/Modern Times
Fort George Brewing from Astoria, OR, does a different version of its collaborative 3-Way IPA annually. While I’m a fan of Fort George’s IPAs in general, I don’t think I’ve tried previous iterations of the 3-Way IPA. This one, however, got my attention with its axe-wielding goat sporting a Holy Mountain logo on its headstock rocking out next to an elk (wearing a necklace with a Fort George logo) and a fairly aggro narwhal using its, um, arms(?) to play a Les Paul with a Modern Times sticker on the body. Sold! If those three breweries are doing something together, I want to drink it.
The fact that it’s an IPA is just the icing on top. There’s just no way this beer could be bad, right? And pretty likely it’ll be superlative. Unfortunately, every other craft beer drinker in the Pacific Northwest wanted it, too. Even though it’s a summer seasonal, it has been flying off the shelves at such a rate that my local bottle shop, Beer Junction, can barely keep it stock, even by limiting customers to one can at a time.
I wised up and went straight to one of the sources—Holy Mountain, natch—and scored a four-pack. Take that, Beer Junction Guy-who-would-only-sell-me-a-single-can.
So, I’m of two minds now that the beer has been chilled and poured into my glass like so much opaque orange-yellow soup. (I know I’ve written columns about beer that’s not completely clear being A-OK, but things have gotten a bit ridiculous.) It’s a hazy IPA, which isn’t my first choice when I’m looking for something hoppy. But, it’s a really well made hazy IPA, that hits all the right notes and is, in fact, hazy AF.
I typically appreciate the smell of these beers more than the flavor and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s mainly about the fruit—stone fruit, tart melon, tangerine, pineapple and mandarin are in there—but there’s some cannabis lurking, too, and plenty of spice. Great aromatics. Pour this into something that’ll let you get a good noseful.
The drinking part is good, too, with a lot of the same fruity characteristics carrying over. However, like others brewed in this style, it has a softness to it that, for me, is an acquired taste. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s unfiltered or that (to style) it was brewed with flaked oats and wheat for more “creaminess,” but it almost feels chewy, like there’s . . . body to it. And even though it has prickly carbonation, it actually feels a bit flat. It finishes with a decent punch of bitterness, but for a 7.2% beer, it’s sweeter than I prefer.
I’m glad I sought it out and bought it. I would have loved if Holy Mountain had put a funky spin on the hazy IPA with this collab, as I think that mixed fermentation is what they do best, but this is a crowd-pleaser that will continue to fly off the shelves all summer. For me, one tall can is fine. Maybe Beer Junction Guy was onto something.