"Just about a year ago, I set out on the road", starts the Credence Clearwater Revival song, "Lodi", a song about a musician lamenting a small town one-night gig that quickly traps him in a "Groundhog Day" nightmare. In that vein, it was just about a year ago that I wrote a less than flattering post about Firestone Walker's Double Jack Imperial IPA, which I had sampled at the Map Room. It left me greatly underwhelmed. Fast forward to January 2012 and times have changed, or perhaps tastes. I now lament that misguided post.
After not having had this beer once since that regretful tasting, me and a buddy, Brian, ventured to Northdown Cafe to give it a shot. He wanted to go there specifically to have this beer, which is always something you have to respect out of your beer drinking buddies. So, I tried it again and my reaction couldn't have been more different. This time it was so much livelier than the previous dose. It was poured into one of those cool 9 oz. "old man" glasses that fans out at the top like an English pint. This really allowed for proper capturing and displaying of the beer's substantial head.
I'd say it was a standard very good DIPA, but a very good one nonetheless, well above average. I didn't smell or taste anything unusual in it. I got pine and grapefruit on the nose, the taste also displayed those characteristics. There might have been a bit of orange or pineapple in there too. The body was relatively smooth with solid carbonation and medium density. It had a nice solid bitterness to the finish with some good tongue coating resins. It delivered all what you want out of an excellent IPA.
Double Jack became the star of the night as we met some new friends, a man and a woman, who got Double Jacks as well, and pretty soon the four of us are toasting Double Jacks together. One of these new friends was a bartender who professed a love for this particular beer. It was funny to see this girl in her mid-20's drinking IPA's - how times have changed.
This is definitely a beer I'd revisit again and again. I would no longer even think of turning one down. Sure, there are better IPA's out there, but that's not a long list. Only the absolute cream of the crop rates more highly than this one. Double Jack is as solid as it gets and easily drinkable for a 9.5% beer. Compare it to other monstrous DIPA's like Southern Tier Unearthly or Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, which drinks like hop soup. Double Jack is pretty much the prototypical California DIPA and should receive high marks from anyone who likes the style.
If I only had a Double Jack for every song I've sung.
4.4 of 5 stars.