Friday, 12 October 2012
Firestone Walker Brewing Co - Union Jack 7.5%
First brewed in 2008, Firestone Walkers Union Jack apparently utilises four pounds of Pacific North-West hops per barrel, so I'm thinking that this might be a little hoppy and as RateBeer estimates it at around 75 IBUs then it certainly promises to be.
What's in a name ?
The Union Jack is the name often given to the Union Flag, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, however this term is correct only if it is flown by a warship, and then only when that ship is at anchor. The United States has its own 'Union Jack', flown from the jackstaff in the bow of its vessels and representing its nationality. Jacks are always and only maritime flags and the US Navy originally adopted this design in 1776 consisting of thirteen horizontal stripes before switching to a dark blue flag with increasing numbers of stars representing increasing numbers of States. A rattlesnake was added to the original design and this has been used by the US Navy since September 11 2002, one year after the al-Qaeda attacks.
Quite some pedigree and quite a name. Let's hope this beer is up to it.
Pouring a darker amber than the Pale 31 I reviewed earlier this week, it has the same thin, lightly whipped white head. It probably won't surprise you that the aroma is big! There's lots of grapefruit pine and orange marmalade, with peaches and mango galore, but there's also a light waft of rich tea biscuit in the background as if a lorry carrying a great load them has had a head-on collision with a skip full of washing-up liquid. Odd, but strangely exciting. This beer leaps to the back of the throat, pouncing like a sharp citrus-soaked puma leaving thick and heavily concentrated grapefruit, orange and a hint of caramel in its wake. The heavy hop addition is certainly showing itself here but there's also a malty backbone holding the whole thing together nicely. The finish is a thick and sticky citrus sauce, sharp, and drying out everso slowly with a tiny bit of soapiness.
This is some beer, bold, brash and out there rather like the USA itself.