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A hazy shade of 3-Way

One of the Northwest’s biggest buzz beers is back, buzzier than ever.

The 3-Way IPA collaboration from Fort George, always a much-anticipated spring release, was even more anticipated this year. It’s in the hazy New England vein – the hottest beer style on the planet these days – and jointly brewed with two masters of that approach, Great Notion and Reuben’s.

At 7 percent alcohol by volume and 65 International Bitterness Units, it’s hopped with a fruity combination of Azacca, Strata, Mosaic and Citra. An opaque honey gold, it has a solid tropical and stone fruit aroma; it starts soft and juicy, but that quickly dissolves into a pronounced, lingering citrus-rind bitterness.

Devotees are debating where it fits into the recent 3-Way hierarchy, following the legendary 2014 version with Boneyard and Block 15, the more sessionable (and disappointing to some) 2015 release with Georgetown and Pfriem and last year’s return to burlier form with Melvin and Barley Brown’s.

While it just arrived in Spokane, you might want to hit your favorite bottle shop soon. There’s talk of can shortages on the West Side, given limited early supplies and this vintage’s attractiveness to traders and hoarders, though that’s likely to ease over the summer as the initial demand levels off and production catches up.