Matt recommended that we try one of the beers from Firestone Walker’s Lion and Bear Series. The Lion and Bear Series is a collection of pale ales, so take a wild guess as to which one I chose? That’s right, the Union Jack IPA! I found this beer on draft at Mellow Mushroom on Friday, and I’m pleased to report that it paired quite nicely with my Holy Shiitake Pie. Firestone Walker describes the Union Jack as “An aggressively hopped West Coast-style IPA.” Let’s take a second to talk about what distinguishes a West Coast-style IPA from an East Coast. West Coast-style IPAs have a more subtle malt flavor, which means that the hops dominate the palate. East Coast-style IPAs are still hoppy, but have a noticeable malt backbone, producing a more balanced brew. These definitions don’t mean that West Coast-style IPAs aren’t made on the East Coast and vice versa, but if you hear these terms used, this is the distinction. I’m currently reading up on how/where/when the two styles originated.
Anyway, back to the Union Jack! “Aggressively hoppy” is a fitting description; hops really dominate in this beer, but there are notes of grapefruit and other citrus flavors as well. It’s crisp and medium-bodied, making it great with food, but it’s definitely a beer that stands on its own, too. I also tried the Double Jack recently, Firestone Walker’s double IPA, and it was freaking phenomenal.
I’ve been really into DIPAs lately and this baby hit. the. spot. It’s malty, it’s hoppy, it has an IBU of 100. I’m telling you, it’s absolutely decadent.
So…in conclusion, kudos to Matt for recommending Firestone Walker. Their beers are scrumptious and the founders (Adam Firestone and David Walker) are actually brothers-in-law! Always neat to discover another sibling duo in this big, beautiful, world of beer. 😉