(Press Release) Paso Robles, CA: For the first time in six years, Firestone Walker’s mythic Wookey Jack is back on the big stage with a new release for the winter season.
Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA is now rolling out to all Firestone Walker markets in six pack (12-ounce can) and draft formats, adding to the legend of this three-time gold medalist at the Great American Beer Festival. This is the first widespread release of Wookey Jack since the beer was originally retired in late 2016.
“The Wookey never dies—it just hibernates,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “We’ve produced periodic small-batch runs over the years, and people keep asking for more. It’s time to release it back into the wild.”
The latest edition of Wookey Jack (8.3% ABV) remains faithful to the original recipe, which includes loads of pearled dark malts with rye adding a rustic grain element. The hops are dank, sticky Citra and pungent Amarillo, both of which are incorporated into a massive dry-hop regimen.
Wookey Jack now reclaims its title Firestone Walker’s wildest and wooliest IPA, offering big, toasty malted rye flavors with a balanced bite on the finish. It is, in Brynildson’s words, “gnarly on the outside, yet refined on the inside.”
Wookey Jack was first released by Firestone Walker in 2012, inspired by Brynildson’s quest to quiet the naysayers.
“At the time, there were a few beer geeks out there saying that Firestone Walker still had yet to really make a truly over-the-top hoppy IPA,” Brynildson recalled. “We took that as a challenge and Wookey Jack was going to be the answer. We dug into the hop closet and pulled out the stickiest and most pungent hops available. We found a blend that really popped and applied it liberally to the brew.”
The resulting beer was an immediate sensation that helped drive the black IPA movement, and that endured for five years before succumbing to cooling demand for the style.
Over the past year, however, there has been a resurgence of appreciation for the black IPA style, which Brynildson feels best lends itself to a seasonal format. “It may not be the type of beer people want to drink year-round, but it just seems right for fall and winter,” he said.
The new Wookey Jack also marks the first time the beer has been packaged in a six pack 12-ounce can format. And gone is the staid look of the original Wookey Jack, which has been replaced with a primeval new design that reflects Brynildson’s affinity for live music and concert poster art, as rendered by artist Juan Marente (@elgrantocayo).
“We didn’t mess with the liquid, but we’ve evolved everything else, which to me makes this the best Wookey Jack ever,” Brynildson said.
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Founded by brothers-in-law Adam Firestone and David Walker in 1996, Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a California beer company with three innovative brewing facilities. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings. Firestone Walker is also the brewery behind 805, one of the nation’s fastest-growing beers. Firestone Walker was recently named “Best American Brewery of the Decade” by Paste Magazine.