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Firestone-Walker unveils the latest and greatest

ENGLISH ALE MEETS NOR-CAL BREW :  Union Jack is hard on the wallet, but easy on the palette. - PHOTO COURTESY OD FIRESTONE-WALKER BREWERY
  • ENGLISH ALE MEETS NOR-CAL BREW : Union Jack is hard on the wallet, but easy on the palette.

# Firestone-Walker brewery just released the latest in its arsenal of oak-brewed pale ales, Union Jack. The most recent effort is a "double dry hopped" IPA (India Pale Ale,) a sort of English ale meets Northern California micro-brew. The result is surprisingly light and spicy a tasty original brew. The secret, according to Brewmaster Matt Brynildson, is all in the hops.

Hops are most notable for their bitter flavor, especially in IPAs, but with over a hundred commercial varieties of hops, flavor possibilities are many. Hops are the dominant flavor in many Northern California micro-brews--which are generally bitter. Each barrel of Union Jack contains four pounds of hops. That's about four times more hops than the average full-bodied beer, according to Brynildson. In Union Jack, however, the dry hopping process--basically adding hops after most of the fermentation has occurred--negates the bitter flavor and adds significant floral and citrus undertones. At $10 a six-pack, Union Jack is set to compete with wine for a place at the table, but Brynildson said there's a lot of love in it. Find Union Jack in the Firestone-Walker tasting room, at 1400 Ramada Drive in Paso Robles and at specialty liquor stores. For more info, call: 238-2556 or visit them online at

Kylie Mendonca compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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