Firestone Walker: Easy Jack IPA (USA: Session IPA: 4.7% ABV)
Visual: Clear yellow. Moderate white head. Some carbonation to the body.
Nose: Resin. Lemon. Popcorn. Hop bitterness. Passion fruit.
Body: Good bitterness. Crisp and dry. A lot of hop character. Dried fruit and trail mix. Grapes. Some vanilla toffee as it warms.
Finish: Bitter and hoppy. Dried passion fruit. Flour air.
Conclusion: You know, people are going to think I don’t like session IPAs- that isn’t true. Beavertown’s Neck Oil for example is bloody fantastic and I can drink it for ages. However, that is not the beer I am talking about now. I am talking about this, a session IPA from the highly reputed Firestone Walker, and I find it, like many others, leave me slightly cold.
I think it is something in the drier body that comes with the lower abv – a similar impression I get from the American Pale Ales – The body seems to give the hop bitterness grip – no problem – but it really seems to find it hard to use the texture to give grip to the fruity flavours that the hops should showcase.
It is all a bit dry, it almost feels like someone dusted flour over it. I was hoping the legends that are Firestone Walker could do something with the style to overcome the oft found shortcomings but, while it feels competently put together – crisp and well textured – it feels like it has the same flaws and merits as the majority of the style I have encountered. Unique to it is how much the bitterness clings so it doesn’t even feel that sessionable in flavour. Without the contrasting sweetness the roughness builds up too quickly – it is interesting to drink as a single beer, but not as one of many.
Ah well, back to Neck Oil I should review that one day.
Background: Firestone Walker are awesome, and make brilliant IPAs – so when I saw that they were doing canned beers – found at Independent Spirit, I had to grab one for a try. Drunk whilst listening to some Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Alleujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! to be exact.