The 3/9 Project, d0wnalong Mexican Lager
In 2016, the 2/6 project was launched by Harbour Brewing. The concept was simple. Six of the UK’s best breweries (Beavertown, Cloudwater, Harbour, Siren, Wild Beer and Arbor) split into two teams to make two different beers over one weekend in Cornwall. Once brewing had finished there was an almighty shindig with families in tow.
“It came about because many of us working in the industry spend a lot of time together traveling to see customers, attending conferences and at festivals. You become genuinely good friends… but getting together with families and partners in tow is still unusual” explains Eddie at Harbour. “But it goes without saying that the real reason for these projects is to create notable beers and challenge ourselves to work with those that we respect most”.
So how did the 2/6 project evolve into the 3/9? “I was at the 2016 Yakima hop harvest with my friend and fellow brewer Phil Lowry from Breakwater Brewing and Simply Hops. We were talking about the 2/6 project and we both decided to put our heads together to make sure it was bigger and crazier than the previous year. Phil knows everyone, so we knew we could wrangle an awesome group together to make something special”
There were only two criteria for the breweries they decided to invite. Firstly, they had to be awesome to hang out with. Good people make good beer after all. Secondly, they had to respect them as brewers. “We didn’t just want to invite people because it made the project appear cooler or craftier” Eddie assures us.
Phil and Eddie got on the phone and ended up with a list of breweries to make your eyes water. Three from the USA (21st Amendment, Three Weavers, Deschutes), three from Europe (Bevog - Austria, BeerBliotek - Sweden, Whiplash - Ireland) and three from the UK (Adnams, Breakwater, Six Degrees North) plus Harbour Brewing who hosted the event.
The names were drawn out of a hat so that each team had a representative from each country. Then they set about sending “hundreds” of emails back and forth. The way the recipes developed varied from team to team, taking into account everything from geography, national brewing heritage, through to native fruits and yeasts.
And then they descended on Harbour Brewing HQ in Polzeath, North Cornwall for 3 days at the beginning of June. There were boat trips, surfing, BBQs, and a LOT of partying. Oh, and 3 days of brewing.
“It was an incredible weekend. The first night was a little heavier than expected, making Saturday’s brewing more challenging than it could have been” laughs Eddie.
The resulting beers are rather special... A Sour IPA with wheat, oats, gooseberry, orange peel and a bucket load of hops. A boozy Saison with rye, oats, maize, lemon peel and caraway seeds... and a Mexican Lager that will give any other IHLs a run for their money.
“A little competition amongst friends doesn’t hurt” Eddie cheekily claims, with a big grin on his face as he jumps in the minibus on his way to the beach.