Monday, January 07, 2008

FIRESTONE WALKER'S UNION JACK IPA

Not until I checked my tasting notes for this one, which exclaimed that this IPA "tasted English", did I make the correlation to the name of the beer itself: UNION JACK IPA, from our central coast heroes FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING. This restrained and gently-hopped India Pale Ale was tasted on tap at San Francisco's Toronado a couple of weeks ago, and was a wake-up call that Firestone Walker actually have all these strange-ass small batch beers that only hit the quality beer bars and are not bottled - so if you see one, drink up! Loved this one - hoppy and piney in taste (as opposed to citrus/grapefruit), with medium carbonation. I found it to be a bit "chewy". Someone out there must know what makes a beer chewy - I don't. UNION JACK IPA is fairly muted and straightforward, but classic all the way, and something you'd be proud to drink in olde country or right in the US of A. 8/10.

3 comments:

Steve said...

Hm... Chewy... maybe that's your term that's equivalent to my 'syrupy'? From what I gathered, Union Jack is a pretty high alcohol IPA (8%). I'm sure that adds to the chewyness, plus as with other DIPA's they'll have to beef up the malt bill. That's when things usually get 'syrupy' for me. Examples- Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA, Avery Maharaja, Alpine Exponential Hoppiness, Stone 10th, DFH 90. There are very few IPA's that don't feel too syrupy to me (ie Ruination, Pliny the Elder, Bear Republic Racer X, Hop Wallop)

Matt Navarre said...

Chewy, to me is usually the result of higher mash temps and/or lots of less fermentable specialty malts. Malt flavors play into it too, the more toffee and caramel flavors the malt bill has, the chewier I tend to find it. Carbonation and hopping levels (and hop bills) have some say in it too, a beer with less carbonation won't generally seem as light as a more carbonated beer.

Judging from his examples, Steve's "syrupy" has more to do with fusel alcohols than malt bill or CO2. Fusels, even if they're not noticeable as a "hot" alcohol smell or taste tend to give a slick or thick mouthfeel. I find all the beers he gives as examples of "syrupy" to be fairly fusely,

Steve said...

Firestone Jack reminded me of Alpha King. It was a pretty darn good beer. It didn't feel chewy to me but I got a real juicy vibe from it. Good stuff can't wait to get it again.