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Firestone’s Easy Jack has a bit too much going on for a summer beer

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Four different types of hops. Is Firestone’s Easy Jack a victim of overkill? You be the judge.

It may not be summer yet, but with Las Vegas beginning to hit the low 90s, it’s definitely time to start thinking about summer beer. And Firestone Walker is throwing a new player into the mix this year with the release of Easy Jack, a summer session IPA.

Firestone has long been one of my favorite microbreweries, and it’s come a considerable way since the release of Double Barrel Ale more than two decades ago. Its line of beers now includes two formidable IPAs, the Union Jack and Double Jack. Thing is, both of those are a bit beastly, and not exactly easy to drink in a summer, slake-your-thirst kind of way.

That’s where Easy Jack comes in. It may be low in ABV at 4.5 percent, but there’s plenty going on here. Firestone used no fewer than four hops to create Easy Jack, including Bavarian Mandarina, Hallertau Melon, Mosaic and several New Zealand hops. The result? An easy-drinking but complex pour.

There’s tons going in this IPA, and I can see this as being somewhat divisive. The nose gives you a clear indication what you’re in for, with lots of fruit and pine notes. As for the taste, Easy Jack is definitely crisp and easy to drink, but while it has that bitter hoppiness combined with a slight fruitiness, there’s a piney aftertaste. I didn’t dislike it, but I couldn’t help but wonder how much more I would have enjoyed this had it been produced as a heavier-ABV bruiser. As a summer drink, it just comes off as a bit too complex for me.

Easy Jack just became available in Nevada, so grab a bottle and give it a try. As for me, when it comes to Firestone IPAs, I think I’ll stick to Union Jack and Double Jack.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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