food.pairing: Union Jack

firestone walker, union jack

General description and suggestion:

Pair  an American IPA with a spicy corn salsa.  American IPA’s  have a more pronounced bitterness, citrus hop aroma and higher alcohol than their English IPA cousins. That means this is a great beer for hop heads and spice (as in hot) heads.  The hops and the carbonation can intensify the hot spices initially by picking them up off the tongue and dispersing them throughout the mouth. At the same time the elevated malt sweetness and alcohol help to tamp the initial spike in spiciness before it becomes too intense.

Specific description and suggestion:

This was an easy week for pairings with all the fixings for a delicious spicy corn salsa in our box! My suggestion is to prepare a corn salsa as spicy as you can handle and pair it with Firestone Walker’s Union Jack.  The elevated hop levels and carbonation will spread the hotness of the salsa toward the mid and back part of the palate in an even spice coating.  Then the sweet malty backbone of this beer will help to neutralize the spice as you swallow.  The carbonation and the alcohol in Union Jack help to cleanse the palate getting you ready for that next chip full of salsa!

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.

  1. hey, nice format – and I know where you’re coming from with this match!

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