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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA



"Union Jack"
Style: IPA
Serving Type: On Tap at Simmzy's Manhattan Beach, Cali.

Aroma: Citrus notes contain a grainy characteristic that is almost earthy, but more closely represent ground orange peel mashed together with melanoidin malts. Lemon. Ginger? Not entirely hop focused on the nose but it offers a complex array if you're looking.

Appearance: Pale gold. Light brushed copper. Deep amber. Take your pick. Brilliant filtered clarity that I don't look for in an IPA but it's acceptable. Head holds well as pure white with good lacing along the glass.

Flavor: Huge hop bitterness upfront that briefly gives way to sweet caramel before the hops come back strongly in the middle with an earthy bite, and it's a big bite. Barely enough malt to support the hops here, but for the hop lover it's not unbalanced. Finish is burnt toast, caramel and would you believe more hops? Yes. Alcohol spice comes out in stages but is generally hidden by hop aroma and flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation. The intensity of the hop flavor and bitterness will fill the palate with a sting and slightly tannic effect, adding to the mouthfeel but bringing a distinct drying effect in the finish.

Overall: Since I've been on a bit of a hop kick lately this beer hits the mark square in the face. Huge hop bitterness and gorilla hop flavor. While the malt is only supportive enough to hold the IBU's on your palate, for the hop seeker this will satisfy. For others, it will be unbalanced. Carbonation adds a tingling effect that only slightly lifts the hop oils off your tongue. The barley presence comes off as an afterthought to the Humulus Lupulus.

I rated this beer an “A-” on BeerAdvocate.

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Beer enthusiast and advocate. Recognized beer judge and traveler of west coast beer destinations.