Jack Black. Musician. Actor. Comedian. And now, to pay respect to his humdrum career on the silver screen, he has a beer named after him. Why else would the the great people at Firestone choose to have his name adorned on a beer. I’m just not sure why a tire company would get into the brewing business… And what exactly does Chuck Norris have to do with this? Why isn’t Chewbacca on the label? I’m so confused. I’m equally as confused as to what I shall expect entering this beer. Will it be a porter? Will it be hop heaven? Enough with the questions – there’s only one way to find out… time to run them numbers!
Appearance: As the name suggests, it pours blacker than the soul of Satan himself (but Jack Black is white… I don’t understand). It leaves a pretty thick head that’s the same color as everybody’s favorite Wookiee, and the head retains itself nicely as the brew slowly makes it way from the glass. It also left behind a nice lacing as pretty as grandma’s doily.
Taste: Up front, the first sip gives us a big hop kick to the face as ferocious as a Texas Ranger roundhouse, circa 1995. A lot of earthy, piney notes coming from the hops, then, like sucking on an everlasting gobstopper, this brew switches over a totally different profile with some roasty, dark malts. The bitterness of the hops creeps along the journey from sip to swallow, however the most pronounced element of the finish to me is the spiciness of the rye. It definitely lingers all the way down to the stomach and adds a unique element to the brew. The roasted malts in Wookey Jack were definitely more pronounced when I began drinking; as I finished the bottle, the pungent hop flavor knocked out many of those chocolaty, toasty characteristics. They are mostly seen at the very end of the sip right before the rye spiciness kicks in.
The ABV on this guy is 8.3%. By the time you finish the bottle, you may find yourself poking at the lion and bear on the label, antagonizing them to fight in a manner similar to a drunken Situation in any Jersey Shore episode you’ve ever seen. It definitely creeps up on you and is well hidden. It’s not a super big ABV, but it does pack a punch (just look at those animals). Oh yeah, mouthfeel and carbonation are spot on, and it has a big malty body (as expected… it is a black IPA).
Overall: I enjoyed drinking Wookey Jack and when it’s all said and done, I’ll give this beer a solid B+. I enjoyed it from start to finish, however, when you combine an aggressive hop profile, with charred malts, with rye – you are bound to loose some of the complexities you are searching for. All three of those flavors are very assertive, and in this brew, the hops and rye win out hands down. I wish it was slightly more balanced, but it’s still a wonderful beer to pick up. It drinks nicely while watching School of Rock.