Not to Be Missed

At first glance, one could think this was a British bottle. The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, jumps out at you. Well, not at all. This beer is from the USA — Paso Robles, California, to be exact, where Firestone Walker Brewing Company was formed in 1996 by Adam Firestone and David Walker.

This brewery collects medals and recognitions. Listing them here would be a post in itself. Union Jack IPA alone has accumulated a lot of them (Gold Medal, European Beer Star in 2013 and 2008; Gold Medal, California State Fair in 2013; Gold Medal, Australian International Beer Awards in 2010, etc.)

All this is well deserved, but also quite logical. From the first sip, we understand we’re dealing with a beautifully crafted beer. I would even put it this way: the limits have been splendidly worked at. The alcohol content (7.5% ABV) is already at the limit for an IPA. But the decision was made in the name of flavor, since alcohol helps extract hop oils. But the real peculiarity here is the double dry-hopping process — another limit, and again at the service of flavors.

The hops (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and then Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe for the dry-hopping) mark a real West Coast IPA, well balanced by the malts (Two-Row, Munich, Carapils, Light Crystal).

One of the more drinkable IPAs I’ve tasted, and a marvel of balance. You definitely must not miss this “tons of flavors” brew.