Firestone-Walker Union Jack IPA
Bottle: 12 oz, ABV: 7.5%, IBU: 70, Serving Temperature: 50° F, Glass Type: Pilsner glass
Interlude: The IPA has an interesting history, origins of the IPA began in England by Bow Brewery, a favorite of the East India Trading company due to its location in an important port city. The first recorded “India” pale ale was a pale ale known as October beer, which was more aggressively hopped than other pale ales of the time. It was noted that this beer’s flavor profile improved during the favorable cellaring conditions during nautical transport. It quickly became a favorite among consumers in India.
Today, the style has exploded into something uniquely American, with the epicenter of the movement on the west coast. There is little arguing that California is home to some of the world’s most respected breweries (and some of the best riding as well). Firestone-Walker, located in San Luis Obispo, is one of those special breweries that does not make a bad beer. They also hosted their first Criterium this year, training trip anyone?
Appearance: In homage to the IPA this beer fits the standard it is a bright, clear amber orange. Effervescent white head that lingers and laces nicely.
Aroma: Upfront, I get grapefruit notes as well as a hint of some pine mixed in. The hope notes are not over the top like other examples of this style. There is a sweetness and bready-ness that lingers in the aroma that you can almost taste.
Taste: Due to the aroma you are tricked into thinking you will be tasting sweet caramel malts upfront but you actually get a nice blend of bready malt flavors and a bunch of a grapefruit. After the initial taste the sweetness lingers and grapefruit gives way to tropical fruits like mango and guava. The alcohol is nicely hidden and leave a hint that it is there with a mild numbness of the tongue.
Overall: This is a great example of a west coast IPA, boarding Double IPA. It is available year round and is a must try for anyone who considers themselves a hop-head. This, however, is not a session beer, but would pair great with BBQ chicken, ribs or pulled pork.