I had the distinct pleasure last week of meeting Kenny Ichimaru, the regional sales manager for Firestone Walker Brewing Co., a brewery that started in California but has made significant inroads in Nevada.
Ichimaru and I met at Khoury’s Fine Wine and Spirits, where he was waiting for me with a fresh-from-the-tap Firestone Union Jack IPA. As we talked about Firestone’s efforts in Nevada and the numerous products available now and in the future, I sipped gingerly from the pleasant, if not exactly earth-shattering, IPA. Kenny asked the Khoury’s employee if there were any other Firestone products on tap. When he was told no, he turned to me and said, “I want you to taste something else. Come with me.”
We headed over to the Fireside Restaurant and Tavern just off St. Rose Parkway. I had never been here before, but was immediately struck with its impressive list of beers, including Lagunitas, Stone, Epic and Goose Island. Kenny talked to the bartender briefly, and she quickly returned with two Chimay glasses full of a dark, brooding-looking beer.
Kenny, sensing my curiosity, announced, “This is Wookey Jack.”
Before I start my review, allow me to cut to the chase: If you see this on the shelf, grab it quickly. And get out your best glasses, because this is one you’re going to want to enjoy to the fullest extent possible.
Wookey Jack is a black rye IPA, introduced by Firestone in 2012. The same year it was released, it took top honors at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival. It’s brewed with a combination of three different hops and five different malts. It clocks in at 8.5 ABV and is available at local liquor stores in a 22-ounce bottle (while price varies, look forward to paying anywhere from $5.99 on up). Four-packs might be available soon, but Ichimaru couldn’t specify when.
This is, without question, one of the finest beers I’ve ever tasted. The toastiness of the malt and the bitter of the hops are both beasts, but in sandwiched in between those two warring creatures is a sweet smoothness that begs you to take one more sip … and another …
The last Firestone product I reviewed was its excellent Pils, and I said at the time I cannot wait to start my Firestone journey. After having Wookey Jack, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve been ruined for the rest of my trip. It is seriously that good.