Brewer: Firestone Walker Brewing
Style: Session IPA
Firestone Walker introduced its Easy Jack Session IPA as a summer seasonal last year, only to find that they didn't have enough of the beer's signature tropical hops to meet demand. The twist is that the shortage didn't originate in the Pacific Northwest, but in Germany's Hallertau hop-growing region. While the Germans have been the go-to source for the light, spicy Noble hops that give pilsners their distinctive bite, the region has historically had little to offer American brewers obsessed with huge citrus hop flavors.
That dynamic has begun to change as German hop breeders are beginning to court American brewers with new bold and fruity hops. Firestone Walker's brewmaster Matt Brynildson made a pilgrimage there to forge relationships with the farmers, and emerged with enough Hallertau Melon and Mandarina Bavaria hops to put Easy Jack into the brewery's year-round lineup. The German hops are blended with New Zealand varieties for a flavor and aroma that mixes tropical fruits with a distinct orange note.