Friday, July 20, 2012

A Black Jack Hop Smack

I had a small glass of Firestone Walker's Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA at a 4th of July barbeque, but it got lost in the sampling of other beers before and after it.  I liked it enough, though, that I wanted to try it by itself without competing distractions.  As its name states Wookey Jack is a black IPA, which to me means its a hoppy beer with roasted malts. Wookey Jack fit this description.   It didn't look completely black (despite what the accompanying picture looks like), but more a deep mahogany with a cream foam. 

The beer's rye was present throughout, and gave Wookey Jack flavor depth, a full mouthful, and provided a complement to the hops.  Wookey Jack also had a slight mouth coating texture, a sensation I don't usually appreciate, and I'm not sure whether it came from the rye or the alcohol.  It wasn't prominent enough to change my opinion of the beer.  The abv was 8.3%, but it wasn't noticeable, getting lost in the roasted flavors.   Wookey Jack had a smooth aftertaste and a nice, long lasting bitterness.

I don't know of a beer style that generates the passion - love or hate - more than black IPAs, although the controversy seems to have passed.   Beers like Wookey Jack should help the style, because it's a no nonsense, unpretentious beer that tastes good.  It should appeal to those that don't like black IPAs as there is depth and character to it, which makes for a drinkable, interesting pint.

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