Firestone Walker’s “Wookey Jack” – Black Rye IPA/American Black Ale – 8.3% ABV/IBU’s: 80
I am in awe. This beer could very well make the most hardcore atheist show some religious faith and shout “Jesus CHRIST!” and “Holy SHIT!” or “GOD DAMN!” I was expecting this to be good but I wasn’t expecting it to be one step away from causing me to ejaculate in my boxer briefs. And a few days ago I saw it on tap in a bar in Chicago and had to excuse myself so I could make my bald man cry against the porcelain finish of the urinal in the men’s room. Wookey Jack is one of three selections in Firestone Walker’s “proprietor’s reserve series”, which used to include their Porter, which has been retired. It was one of the best porters I ever had. Why did they retire it? Rude. But I shan’t focus on that. I shall focus on Wookey Jack. What a great experience it was to drink this.
The aroma is simple and very pleasing. Piney hoppiness. Crispy, fresh, cool, tobacco. I said, “wow” out loud to myself when I smelled it. “This is going to be good.” I poured it moderately into an IPA glass and it built up a massive, thunderous head that I did not expect. Wait a second… did Kal-El just toss a crystal from Krypton into my beer? There’s a fucking Fortress of Solitude sitting on top of my beer! AWESOME. The head was dense in volume, butterscotch in color, whip cream in texture, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in studliness. Like David Gale’s decapitated head in Re-Animator, it WOULD NOT DIE! It even hissed at me a little bit and I think I heard “Wesssssssst!” And I wanted to get into it like his severed head ate the whisker biscuit of 80’s horror scream queen Barbara Crampton. The body of the beer looked black under standard room lighting. But when I held this specimen up to a bright light I could see a deep red. “Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight? It appears quite black.” Hannibal Lecter said that in “Red Dragon”.
So, at this point the beer had reminded me of Superman, cunnilingus from a severed head, and Hannibal Lecter. And I hadn’t even sipped it yet. Could it possibly get better?
Yes, it could. And it did. It contained the perfect combination and balance of malt and hops. The hops were piney and floral, and although the recipe contains Citra hops I did not taste any citrus/tropical fruit. I did taste black cherry, which was probably from those hops. But that did not disappoint me in the slightest. In fact the fruit profile that I tasted seemed more appropriate. The malts were robust, roasty, and contained a touch of dark cocoa. The peppery, tart flavor of rye was also present. Overall the flavor was more malt than hops, but the aftertaste kicked in with a relatively strong bitter hoppy flavor that lingered and slowly faded away. This brew was very wet, very drinkable, contained medium carbonation, and only a minimum amount of lacing. And here we go again with the lacing… this shit isn’t wine, folks. This is beer. But so many people care about the damned lacing. This stuff is proof that lacing doesn’t mean WOOKEY JACK SHIT when it comes to a quality beer.
This beer stomps ass. And it tasted so good I posted the bottle upside down in my IPA glass to get as many drops out of it as I could, I shit you not. I wanted to shatter the bottle across my kitchen table and lick what remained off the shards of glass. But I didn’t want to explain to people why my tongue looked like Sonny Corleone after going through a tollbooth.