When Firestone Walker released its newest West Coast IPA mixed pack earlier this year, they did something they never had before: capturing the full arc of their IPA brewing experience in one package.

“It’s a bit of a first,” Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson told us. “It’s certainly my favorite mix pack we’ve done in a while.”

Packing the past, present, and future of the brewery’s California-style IPAs all into one variety pack, Firestone Walker’s new “Beer Before Glory” IPA Mixed Pack showcases the heritage and evolution of the West Coast IPA over the past twenty years.

All through four beers: the iconic Union Jack, the highly anticipated twentieth revolution of Luponic Distortion, the phenomenal Cold IPA Hopnosis, and the all-new Firestone California IPA.

You won’t find any other mixed pack like this one in Firestone Walker’s twenty-eight-year history. We sat down with Brynildson to find out what makes Beer Before Glory his favorite, why Firestone Walker never made an IPA with Mosaic and Citra…until now, and what he’s learned from brewing IPAs for two-plus decades, starting wtih…

Firestone California IPA: The New Kid on the Block

firestone walker brewing company california ipa west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone California IPA captures the full evolution of the West Coast IPA. With “Firestone” front and center in the name, that’s all you need to know: this beer was brewed to last and to rep the West Coast for years to come.

The only entirely all-new beer in this mixed pack, Firestone California IPA takes everything Brynildson and the Firestone Walker team have learned about brewing IPA over almost twenty years, culminating in one stunning beer.

In Firestone California IPA, you’ll find tips and tricks from each other beer in the Beer Before Glory IPA Mixed Pack.

“It takes elements of all three and puts them together,” shares Brynildson, who references inspiration from some West Coast brewing greats like Alvarado Street, Green Cheek, Highland Park, and North Park. “It encapsulates a little of everything we’ve done on the West Coast side.”

With a couple of new Firestone Walker fingerprints, of course.

firestone walker brewing company california ipa west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

First, Brynildson has expressly stated in the past that he’s avoided building a beer with just Mosaic and Citra hops.

“Mosaic has a wide appeal, so up until this point in time, we tried to build beers as best we could without Mosaic and Citra because everyone else did, and I wanted to be different,” explains Brynildson, who also admits that he feels Alvarado Street has always nailed Mosaic-forward IPAs. “I gave in on this beer and did Citra and Mosaic!”

For the former, Brynildson uses Citra Incognito, which he introduces through a unique piece of equipment in Firestone Walker’s brewhouse that Brynildson can only describe as a sweeping chamber. “On the hot wort line coming from the whirlpool to the heat exchanger, we have a little vessel where we can add things,” he explains. “We’re throwing Incognito in there and sweeping it to the fermenter from the wort line.”

Brynildson calls this a little twist on North Park’s well-known method, which doses Incognito to the fermentor as you add hot wort to help it dissolve better.

Brynildson feels the Citra Incognito creates a “cool, full, resinous hop flavor that really fills in the gaps on these all-base malt brews.”

With that said, Brynildson clearly describes Firestone Walker IPA as a Mosaic-forward beer. “You get a little bit of tropical stone fruit,” he says. “You get all these nice pleasant round hop characters.”

According to the brewery, a liberal dry-hop with Mosaic and Strata packs Firestone California IPA with fresh passionfruit and mango flavors.

But what truly sets Firestone California IPA apart is how it ties all these beers together.

“It’s just like we didn’t make IPA for ten years until Union Jack; we didn’t use Citra and Mosaic for ten years until this beer,” laughs Brynildson. “In the end, we’re trying to make a beer that fits in with what’s happening with IPA on the West Coast now.”

Union Jack: An Iconic West Coast IPA

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Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

If Firestone California IPA represents the now, Union Jack certainly stands for the past. Like many of today’s best craft breweries, Firestone Walker had humble beginnings.

“Our early days were spent brewing beer in a barrelhouse on a forty-acre Chardonnay vineyard,” Firestone Walker Co-Founder David Walker once shared with us. “We cobbled together brewing equipment that wove wine and dairy tanks and used brewing equipment into a primitive brewing operation.”

A makeshift brewhouse served as a sufficient, rustic way to test their project. When Walker and co-founder and brother-in-law Adam Firestone started Firestone Walker in 1996, they had a singular goal. “Our expectations were simply to make beautiful beer for a small winemaking community we were part of,” says Walker.

Within ten years, the craft beer revolution peaked, partly driven by one popular style: the West Coast IPA.

firestone walker brewing company beer before glory ipa mixed pack featuring luponic distortion, california ipa, union jack, and hopnosis west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

And Firestone Walker had changed, too, morphing from making just barrel-fermented beer to those at the vanguard of the industry.

When Union Jack came out in 2006, it helped blaze the trail for West Coast IPAs.

Named after the co-founding British Lion, a nod to Walker’s English roots, Union Jack packs a very hoppy punch.

In the beginning, Brynildson says the main focus was adding a dash of caramel malt to “set Union Jack apart from the rest of the pack’s first-generation old-school [West Coast IPAs].”

Over the past eighteen years, Brynildson says the core recipe has changed very little, with just tweaks here and there “to keep it modern and with the times,” says Brynildson. “It’s in a really great place right now.”

For instance, bringing the alcohol content down from 7.5% to 7% ABV and the IBUs from seventy-five to seventy.

“All the things we’ve heard at every brewery we’ve talked to is about modernizing the IPA to make it more balanced and drinkable,” says Brynildson.

But make no mistake, Union Jack loudly and proudly screams West Coast IPA.

Thanks to a dose of all the classic C hops, including Chinook, Centennial, Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo.

Intensely hoppy yet eminently drinkable from start to finish, Union Jack has become what Firestone Walker calls a “fad-proof IPA” best suited for any hophead and a great homage in this Beer Before Glory mixed pack.

Luponic Distortion: The Highly Anticipated Return

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Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Making a highly anticipated return after a few years off the circuit, Luponic Distortion is Firestone Walker’s constantly rotating hop experiment.

The series focuses on new experimental hops, with each version often incorporating exciting hops Brynildson found on his travels worldwide, such as hops from Germany, South Africa, or New Zealand.

Now in its twentieth revolution, Luponic Distortion 2024 includes a blend on the hot side of German Tradition, Mandarina Bavaria, and Simcoe “because we just love Simcoe on the hot side in these West Coast IPAs,” says Brynildson.

In the dry hop, Bynildson says they include Mosaic, Cashmere, Nelson, and the experimental HBC 1019 as the lead.

“The hop lives in between the more tropical hazy IPA hops we’ve come to love and, in my mind, Mosaic,” says Brynildson. “It’s more about the fruity, soft character than the classic C hops. I get a lot of peaches when I rub 1019, but it also has nice, tropical elements.”

Explicitly designed to showcase the beauty of a specific hop or blend and the possibilities of hop aromas and flavors, Luponic Distortion is like a study in the hop universe.

firestone walker brewing company luponic distortion west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

“It was a vehicle to test a whole lot of different hops,” says Brynildson. “I don’t know if we were thinking about the modern IPA at that point or really just a neutral grist recipe to allow the hops to just pop.”

Each iteration starts with the same toned-down malt base (no specialty malts here) to let the rotating hop or hop blend shine through.

Additionally, Brynildson notes that through each Luponic Distortion, he brews with the same hotside hop program and targets the same IBUs. The only variable that changes is the dry-hop addition. Even here, he tries to keep the timing of the dry-hopping the same to provide the most consistency. Again, all to highlight the single hop or hop blend.

With this year’s version, Firestone Walker says you can expect mind-bending flavors of lychee, peach, nectarine, and strawberry.

You won’t be able to find Luponic Distortion 2024 anywhere BUT the Beer Before Glory IPA Mixed Pack.

Hopnosis: The Cold IPA Phenom

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Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

“In this pack, Hopnosis is definitely the most different from the rest when I taste them because it is fermented with a lager yeast,” explains Brynildson.

Fashioned after the Cold IPA style, which melds the flavors of an IPA with the crisp, clean character of a lager, Hopnosis was Firestone Walker’s way of embracing a contemporary IPA style.

Perfectly balancing new-school hops and techniques—such as cryo hopping—with the old-school West Coast IPA style, Hopnosis poetically represents the future of beer: a new expression of the West Coast IPA.

Beginning with a straightforward malt bill of two-row, Carapils, wheat, and Munich malt, Hopnosis’ grains create an excellent canvas for the hops.

Brynildson starts with Simcoe to build that classic West Coast IPA. “It tends to give a harmonious bitterness and to have all the Pacific Northwest flavor profiles and flavor notes that are familiar with some of my favorite West Coast IPAs,” Brynildson told us in the past.

From that baseline, Firestone Walker includes a few crucial tweaks to bring this beer into the twenty-first century.

Hops, hops, and more hops. Brynildson adds a plethora of new-school Pacific Northwest and New Zealand hops to Hopnosis, but he carefully chooses each one for a specific purpose.

On the hot side, the aforementioned traditional Simcoe, but also Talus and Callista.

“We can load those up on the hot side without bringing too much bitterness,” says Brynildson. Plus, they bring all this “new-world peachy, cool aroma that begs to go into an IPA,” he notes.

You’ll find more modern additions with Mosaic Cryo, which comes in mid-fermentation “to bring some new-school flavors that everyone is starting to associate with IPA in general, whether it’s hazy or West Coast,” says Brynildson.

It’s a staple flavor that has become synonymous with IPAs in California.

To finish up, Brynildson uses dry hops with a blend of new-school Pacific Northwest and New Zealand hops, including Idaho 7, El Dorado, Cashmere, Nelson Sauvin, and Riwaka.

But these specific hops aren’t the only innovation in this beer.

Fermenting with a lager yeast makes sure this beer finishes with that characteristic snappy crispness that distinguishes it from other beers in the Beer Before Glory IPA Mixed Pack.

“Hopnosis has a fingerprint that separates it from everything else,” says Brynildson.

At its core, Hopnosis is a West Coast IPA. But it’s a West Coast IPA for a new generation of drinkers, a taste of the future of this iconic style.

Together: All Beers Tell a Story of West Coast IPAs

firestone walker brewing company beer before glory ipa mixed pack featuring luponic distortion, california ipa, union jack, and hopnosis west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Four beers. Four versions of West Coast IPAs. One common thread.

“You can taste the whole progression yourself,” says Brynildson. “That’s the line that runs through all these beers.”

But each has its own identity. “There are subtle differences,” explains Brynildson. “Union Jack, Luponic [Distortion], and Firestone California IPA all have a common thread of the same yeast, but Hopnosis, in my mind, is a little jag, an outlier using lager yeast and trying something completely different.”

Brynildson says he’s excited because the Beer Before Glory IPA Mixed Pack is a place to keep many of these beers alive.

For some, such as Luponic Distortion and Firestone California IPA, the mixed packs are the ONLY place where you can find these beers.

With Beer Before Glory, Firestone Walker has given an echoing rallying cry heard from the West Coast to the East Coast and everywhere in between.

This mixed pack is the revolutionary brewery’s ode to its pursuit of the perfect IPA.

“We’ve always had the belief that if we focus on brewing world-class beer first and foremost, everything else will follow,” said Firestone Walker CEO Nick Firestone in a press release. “It’s about having a drive for innovation and quality that we draw from the culture of California. It’s what makes ‘Beer Before Glory’ the perfect name for a pack that delivers the full arc of our West Coast IPA brewing experience.”

How Can I Get Firestone Walker’s Beer Before Glory IPA Mixed Pack?

firestone walker brewing company beer before glory ipa mixed pack featuring luponic distortion, california ipa, union jack, and hopnosis west coast ipa
Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

You can find the “Beer Before Glory” IPA Mixed Pack across Firestone Walker’s entire twenty-seven-state footprint. Hit up Firestone Walker’s “Find Beer” page to nab one of these beers near you.