Firestone Walker Union Jack India Pale Ale
Warmer weather, and one's thoughts lightly turn back to India Pale Ale.
Firestone Walker, first known for its English-style pale ale Double Barrel, has catered to our hoppier tastes over the years by adding two India Pales, this one being the more heavily hopped — "heavily" meaning two bittering hops, two late-kettle hops (hop-head favorites Cascade and Centennial) and five kinds of dry hops, including more Cascade and Centennial.
Needless to say, it has a big, floral-piney nose and a citrus note (perhaps grapefruit). It pours light amber with a moderate, not terribly persistent head. On the palate, it's full and well balanced with good hop bitterness playing off the malt. The finish is long and ends dry with a sudden bitter note cleaning up sweetness right at the end.
On the whole, India Pales aren't quite as food-friendly as other ales, but Union Jack's brisk bitterness does play well with cuisines that can be on the sweet side, such as Thai. Perhaps Thai best of all, because of the citrus note.
Style: A round, confident, centered ale with no sharp edges, despite an assertive India Pale Ale personality
Price: $9.99 to $11.99 per six-pack
Where to find it: Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822, http://www.beveragewarehouse.com; Beverages and More stores, http://www.bevmo.com; Whole Foods markets; Red Carpet Wines in Glendale, (800) 339-0609, http://www.redcarpetwine.com; Vendome Wine and Spirits stores, http://www.vendomes.com; and Wade's Wines in Westlake Village, (805) 522-4445, http://www.wadeswines.com