By Anita Smith
This is the time of year when we find ourselves daydreaming about warmer weather. As we shovel snow off our driveways and scrape ice off our windshields, some of us may wonder why we haven’t moved to Southern California yet. While we might not physically find ourselves on the West Coast right now, we can indulge in the taste of a classic West Coast IPA to help get us through the rest of the winter. And Chris Peters, bar manager at Teresa’s Café in Wayne, has the perfect West Coast IPA for you: Firestone Walker Union Jack.
“It’s my everyday go-to,” says Peters (though he’s a huge sour IPA fan as well). “It’s the beer I always have in my fridge at home.” And understandably so – Union Jack is an award-winning beer, taking home a silver medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, among other accolades. The beer has aromas of pineapple and citrus yet isn’t too fruity. Aromas of pine and spice balance out the flavor. Union Jack definitely has its fair share of hops – eight to be exact, including Simcoe, Citra, Cascade and Warrior. “You definitely have to be into hops,” Peters notes.
“It’s a good gateway IPA. It’s good for someone looking to get into hoppy beer. It’s not over-the-top bitter, and it has lots of flavor and floral notes.”
Another plus for Union Jack is that you know exactly what you’re getting, each and every time. “Every single can of Jack is consistent,” says Peters. This can be a nice respite for those who seek a brand-new experience with each beer they try. But don’t think of Union Jack as a “fallback” beer – think of it more as a timeless classic.
Peters enjoys Union Jack all year long and likes to sip on it while digging into some hot barbecue. Union Jack also pairs well with Thai food (likely because of the citrus undertones). But what he really digs about Union Jack is that it’s a beer that stays true to its roots. “It’s a nice throwback to when IPAs still tasted like West Coast IPAs, and it’s different enough from other IPAs because it has plenty of hops.”
Anita Smith is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to writing for Draught Lines Magazine, she is also an executive editor of Chilled Magazine.