Firestone Walker’s Union Jack


http://www.firestonewalker.com/

I am going to veer away from local breweries and brewpubs this week to review one of my favorite California Beers, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack.  I decided to review this beer because it is available at most grocery stores and on tap at many watering holes so you should be able to find it easily in Ventura County.

Before my move to California just over year ago I had very little experience with any beer from the Firestone Walker Brewing Company.  Other than a few samples at GABF (Great American Beer Festival) 4 or 5 years ago my only knowledge of Firestone Walker was from listening to an interview with Matt Brynildson (head brewer) on The Brewing Network’sThe Jamil Show”.   I won’t use up space here to talk about the grain bill or hops used in these beers because you can search their site to listen to a podcast where Matt talks about his beers. It is a little on the beer geek side and certainly uses big boy language but you will truly understand Firestone’s beers when you are finished listening. After listening to those podcasts I knew that I wanted and needed to try those beers again as soon as I could.

(flashback to July 2009)  Watching those moving guys really made me thirsty so I walked down to the corner market and picked myself up a sixer of Double Barrel Ale (will be reviewed soon) and Union Jack. Twelve beers? Yes, but I was really thirsty!  I started with DBA and then followed up with Union Jack. It was on that day that I discovered my new “go-to beer”.  A “go-to beer” is one that is easily found, one that will always be refreshing, one that I can count on if I am out of homebrew. The sixer of Union Jack was gone in two days.  Turns out unpacking boxes makes you even more thirsty!(/flashback)

Now back to the review, with a name like Union Jack you may think that it is an English IPA like Fullers or Samuel Smiths.  Don’t be fooled by the name, Union Jack is much more aggressive than its English cousins and it packs a good ABV punch so enjoy in moderation. Union Jack hangs just over the edge with hops (look at the style guideline) but it also has just enough malt backbone keep it from being a one dimensional beer. The other thing you will want to enjoy with this beer is the aroma.  It is dry hopped (hops put in the finished beer for aroma) with several grapefruit, citrus, and piney aroma hop varieties that blend together to make a great West Coast IPA.  If you don’t enjoy beers like Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale or Redhook’s Long Hammer then you may want to pass on Union Jack.  However, the next time you get a chance (you are around someone pouring one or you can ask for a sample) take the time to stick your nose up close and give it a good whiff. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride. You won’t regret it.

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    • Kathleen Taylor
    • October 6th, 2010

    Great review- can’t wait to try this beer!

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