May 2016 – Beer of the Month – Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
What are we drinking this month?
Each month we’ll highlight what we’re liking with a quick rundown about why. There’s nothing really special here, it’s just what we happen to be drinking. It might be old, it might be new, it might be hard to get, it might be easy.
Take a look at previous beers of the month.
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
Beer of the Month – May 2016
After reading It’s Hoppy Time’s review of the Firestone Walker Hammersmith, we decided to pull out the bottle of the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA that’s been sitting in the fridge for way too long and drink it. Since this beer has been unappreciated in the beer fridge for awhile now, it has earned its place as beer of the month for May 2016!
As with last month, this isn’t a new beer, but it’s another great one.
Firestone Walker is a classic brewer who make some of the best IPAs around, and the Union Jack, their cornerstone beer, is obviously no exception. The brewery has been brewing since the mid-1990’s, so they’re right on the fringe of when craft beer really starting coming into its own.
The brewery is one of only two in the world who use a commercial sized Burton Union system to ferment their beers. This system puts the beer through oak barrels and therefore gives Firestone’s beers part of their characteristic flavour.
The Union Jack IPA is an American classic. Coming in at 7.5% ABV, this beer is not to be scoffed at. Drinking one of these is the equivalent of drinking two bottles of beer, so, while it’s a very enjoyable beer, it’s probably best to pace yourself here…
The first impression of this beer is that it pours with a ton of of aroma. Even straight out of the refrigerator (so too cold), the aroma makes it to the nostrils even when held at arm’s length. Despite the higher alcohol content, it’s the colour of a dark straw with a hint of orange. And the head retention is brilliant to. Judged on looks alone, this beer is doing everything right.
Going further, despite the high ABV, the Union Jack has a certain creaminess to it that helps combat the bitterness as it goes down. There is a tiny bit of alcohol burn mixed in with the general woodiness of the brew. These main elements amount to a nicely balanced beverage that goes down very easy.
Being a very typically American style of IPA, the Union Jack is also very piny, which, of course, goes well with the woodiness of the beer (which is probably coming from both the hops and the barrels). While there is some citrus there, it’s not as citrusy as its more northern cousins. This is a good thing as there is also a fair amount of sweetness in the brew, just to take the edge off. It’s not a sweet beer by any means, but just enough to not be overbearing.
So congratulations to the Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, it’s an oldie but a goodie. Thankfully the Union Jack is relatively easy to come by, so if you haven’t tried it yet, get out there and do so.