Firestone Walker Double Jack – 9.5% ABV
My colleague Irving had the distinct honor of introducing us to a popular flavor from Firestone Walker – Union Jack. This is their version of an IPA. Right about that time, I had been working a review for their Double Jack, a stronger take on that style, or more specifically, a Double IPA or Imperial IPA. I know that Union Jack is a great take on an IPA, and Firestone Walker has yet to disappoint me with anything they have offered. I was excited to write about this one because it is a Double IPA and I have had the pleasure of getting into some really good DIPAs lately. (Heady Topper anyone?) I’m hoping that such a world-class beer wouldn’t spoil all the others like it for me and my discriminating palate. Only one way to find out…
Just for some history and educational value, Firestone Walker is located in Paso Robles, CA. This is in central Cali approximately, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pouring this into a tulip glass (I know it’s probably not the perfect or ideal glass for an IPA, but I did it anyway. Sue me) I got the look of a bright orange amber-gold body with a nice off-white head, about two fingers worth that continued to build as I poured. The aroma from this sucker was full of citrus accents – pine and grapefruit really came to mind when I took a whiff. There was a hint of the floral hop presence, but it was definitely overshadowed by the piney citrus element. Now again, I’ve been wary of IPAs and pale ales, some I have loved while others were not to my liking. Which one will this be? Better get a taste and decide.
Immediately when Double Jack hit my palate, I got all hops. It’s sweet too, and I shouldn’t be surprised. 9.5% is something from which you should expect to notice some sweetness after all. It takes a lot of sugar to make that much alcohol. Anyway, I taste a ton of hops up front, but it’s not overly bitter as I would expect. The malty sweetness really balances this well. This is a delicious beer. The hop bite continues to linger as I pull on this, getting a little stronger with each continued sip. The thing is though, the citrus hop flavor and the malty sweetness really do a balancing act and achieve a nearly perfect score if you were to equate this with an Olympic event. I’m really starting to come around to the whole IPA thing if my basis of comparison is based on Heady Topper and this. This is really refreshing and has that little zip to it that sort of “brightens your day” or enhances the drinking experience and makes you think this was time well spent. The downside to it is that I have built up an expectation for this style of beer that may result in my being let down if I don’t get similar beers that belong at the top of totem pole.
I remember seeing the video review of Union Jack and wish I could offer the same thing for Double Jack , but alas I have no working Hi Def camera at the moment (it’s in the shop) and the one I had before was a bit sub-par. Maybe soon I’ll get around to doing a video so you can see what I’m raving about en vivo – Live and in living color. Get your hands on this one, even if you’re not a huge pale ale or IPA fan. It is well-balanced enough that it is not overly bitter and not too sweet, just a large amount of equal parts of both that really work well together. Go find this and get after it. Cheers!