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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Beer of the Week: Firestone Walker's Easy Jack Brings International Hops to a Session IPA

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Firestone Walker is a unique force in the brewing industry. Everyday beer drinkers know it as purveyor of perfectly balanced British-inspired beers such as Double Barrel Ale. Hopheads assume the brewery's most known for excellent pale ales (Pale 31), prototypical IPAs (Union Jack), or big Double IPAs (Double Jack). Sour geeks follow the wild, adventurous beers at its Barrelworks Facility, and boozehounds know it as handily one of the best brewers of spirits barrel-aged beers in the world. Whatever facet of the brewing powerhouse most tickles your fancy, it's hard to deny that when brewer Matt Brynildson puts his mind to mastering a beer style, he's typically successful.

See also: Beer of the Week: Cellarmaker's Taco-Inspired IPA

Beer of the Week: Prairie and Evil Twin Bible Belt

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Firestone's newest addition to the "jack" series of hoppy brews is Easy Jack, a 4.5 percent ABV session IPA. The brewery "didn't set out to make a miniature IPA," says Brynildson, but rather "wanted to start with something more delicate and summery, then carefully turn the hop volume up without sacrificing balance." And, that's exactly what they did with the help of some unique, globe-trotting hop varietals:

Bavarian Mandarina (Germany) -- adds notes of orange zest

Hallertau Melon (Germany) -- aromas of tropical fruit, notably citrus and melon

Blend of New Zealand Hops -- known for their Sauvignon Blanc-esque character

Mosaic (United States) -- brings an unmistakable tropical character full of mango and guava

The finished product pours a pale straw color with a big citrusy, piney aroma. At around 50 IBUs (international bitterness units), there's a salient hop punch against a light, quenching backdrop. Whether you're a fan of India Pale Lagers, traditional West Coast hop bombs, or new school fruity, tropical IPAs, you won't be disappointed. Easy Jack is available now in six packs at your favorite craft retailer.

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