Brew Review

Beer Review – Firestone Walker Wookey Jack


phot courtesy of beerbeerbeerbeerbeer.tumblr.com

phot courtesy of beerbeerbeerbeerbeer.tumblr.com

Once again, I found myself out at the store looking for something new. Having had several good experiences with Firestone Walker (you gotta love Beer Fridays at work) and had a number of good Black IPAs (Back in Black from 21st Amendment, Hoppy Feet from Clown Shoes, New Holland Black Hatter, to name a few), I thought taking a chance on the Firestone Walker Wookey Jack really wasn’t much of a risk.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a craft brewer from Paso Robles, CA. The brewery was founded by Adam  Firestone (of the tire and winery family) and his brother-in-law, David Walker in 1996. They were named World Cup Champion Brewery (mid-sized brewer) in 2004, 2006 and 2010 and their Firestone Pale Ale was named “Best Beer in America” by Men’s Journal in 2006. This year, Firestone Walker has begun to introduce a series of barrel aged beers with the Sucaba (in February), the Parabola (in April), the Double DBA (in July) and the Velvet Merkin (in September). They are also known for their Anniversary Ale which is a blend of the best of the line-up. This year will be the 17th release of the Anniversary Ale.

Here is what Firestone Walker has to say about their Wookey Jack:

Wookey Jack is our first foray into the dark outer world of black IPAs.  Rich dark malts and spicy rye careen into bold citrus laden hops creating a new dimension in IPA flavor.  This brew has been left unfiltered and unfined to retain all of its texture and character.  At 80 IBUs, Wookey Jack is gnarly on the outside yet complex and refined on the inside.

I found the Wookey Jack to be…

  • Appearance: Chocolate Brown with tan foam.
  • Aroma: Sweet Malt with hints of citrus and hops.
  • Taste: Creamy, sweet with a nice blend of hops and a long hoppy tang in the finish.
  • ABV: 8.3%

The Wookie Jack had a relatively short flavor profile and was not all the ryeish (which was okay with me). I found it to be quite refreshing with a crispness and balance that I have come to expect from Firestone Walker. I think this might be my new, favorite Black IPA.

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11 replies »

  1. I agree 100%! Wookey Jack is fantastic. These guys make some great stuff. Need to track down the Parabola, Sucaba, and Velvet Merkin. Merkin? That’s just funny!

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  2. Easy stuff first: The G-LO need not track beyond the Alemonger Craft Beer Research Laboratories & Loonery. I have at least one Sucaba & one Parabola in the Forgettable Me Aging Closet.

    Surprisingly, I’m somewhat familiar with and a fan of Firestone Walker given their Californianess. Adam was a year ahead of me in law school. We weren’t friends but had a few in common (in the current FB era and definition of ‘friend’ I guess we we’d have been considered practically soul mates – wait – given our passions for craft beer, we might actually be soul mates. But we’re still not friends). Had I only known. In any event, we shared patio and deck space at various Malibu establishments and friends homes/condos while “enjoying” Coronas. At least he put his distaste for those lime ponds to good use and made something of himself.

    Oh, Wookey Jack. Stone Sublimely Self Righteous (previously their 9th Anniversary Ale) had been my go-to Black IPA until I had a Wookey Jack last year. Spectacular. More depth and complexity than any other Black IPA I’d previously had. Importantly though, that complexity isn’t “forced” as it sometimes is with the addition of ingredients and/or processes that really aren’t necessary. The rye comes across as a ribbon of mild and welcome spice weaving in and out the flavor and enhancing each. Harmony’s conductor. The texture is also beautifully silky with a modestly bitter and inviting finish. I called it the style’s new north star when I first tried it and I’m comfortable pointing my craft beer sextant in it’s direction for the foreseeable future.

    And as far as the velvet merkins go – they’re very uncomfortable. Promote moisture retention and rashes. New spring lamb or teacup piglet are better choices.

    Cheers!

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    • I anyone is interested in an aged Firestone Walker tasting I’d be happy to empty out some room in my beer closet and combine forces. Sucaba, Parabola, XV, XVI, etc. (I pretty much look for any excuse to drink something in the aging closet – more fun to share)

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  3. This looks awesome. I recently found a new liquor store with a wide selection of beers, so I’ll take a look and see if I can get my hands on Firestone Walker the next time I’m in that neighborhood, because I love Back in Black. Thanks.

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  4. I’m real hit or miss with Cascadian Dark Ales (Black IPAs if you must…). Most of the time the discordance between citrus hops and roast malts is just not my thing. I have however heard this was a great example to try. I’ll have to move it up my queue. I really liked Gigantic Brewing’s Black Friday and Stone’s Sublimely.

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