Thursday, July 12, 2012


Careful Beer Samizdat readers know that I've got it in for the Black IPA. I've had some good ones, sure - this one in particular was amazing - but it stands alone among newer experimental beer styles as feeling very "forced", like we couldn't just leave well enough alone and had to discolor the IPA, malt it up and gimmick the hell out of it. That aside, I've tried quite a few and it's rare that one really impresses. I figured if anyone besides Stone could make a good one, it just might be FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING, and since they named their Black Rye IPA "WOOKEY JACK" - well, it was hard to pass up.

First, the title of this post is a vague Spinal Tap reference, in case you're totally perplexed. Now, the beer: no, this really doesn't change my opinion of the black IPA, but this is a big 'ol cut above most that I've tried. It has a malty, chicory-like taste that tempers the very strong hops, and rye is definitely apparent. It's 8.3% alcohol, bitter, and at times has a slick, oily mouthfeel. At times that chicory/tree bark/hops combo kind of bums me out, but I realized that I totally drank this with gusto anyway, and recognized some "craft" when I tasted it, beer style be damned. Firestone Walker don't really take half measures on anything they make, so no question this would be a little bit bolder and different than the others. I'll award it a very generous 7/10.

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