Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, California) has officially confirmed that the three beers within their Proprietor’s Reserve Series – Double Jack Double IPA, Opal Farmhouse Ale and Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA – will be retired by the end of 2016.
Created as a series dedicated to smaller-batch standout beers, Firestone Walker’s Proprietor’s Reserve has been represented incredibly well by Double Jack Double IPA, Opal Farmhouse Ale and Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA over the last several years. These brewery favorites have acted as the perfect offerings to bridge the gap between the accessible year-round and seasonal brews within the Lion & Bear Series and the limited release, barrel-aged beers of the Proprietor’s Vintage Series. Sadly, times have changed and the current craft beer landscape calls for breweries to now constantly awe fans with newly created, innovative offerings. Since the Proprietor’s Reserve Series was created for these very reasons, it only seems fitting that it falls victim to its initial intention.
If you happen to be unfamiliar with the beers of the Proprietor’s Reserve, here are the full brewery descriptions of all three:
- Double Jack Double IPA – “With Double Jack, we amped up our signature Union Jack IPA to create an aggressively hopped, ﬂawlessly balanced and dangerously drinkable imperial IPA. Double Jack opens up with bright grapefruit and tangerine American hop aromas, courtesy of liberal dry hopping with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe. Undertones of stone fruit are revealed upon ﬁrst sip, followed by the essence of blue basil and pine. A sturdy pale and crystal malt backbone brings balance to high hop intensity.” ABV – 9.5% IBUs – 85
- Opal Farmhouse Ale – “Opal is an unﬁltered interpretation of the classic saisons that originated from the 18th century farmhouses of southern Belgium’s Wallonia region. In true agrarian beer fashion, Opal is loaded with rustic grains and spicy Belgian yeastiness, with a hazy namesake opalescence in the glass. Into this mix comes a dimension of dry-‐hopped brightness, layering in notes of fragrant citrus and tropical fruit. The result is a rootsy, rustic saison that brings down the farmhouse, merging Belgian tradition with West Coast style.” ABV – 7.5% IBUs – 35
- Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA – “A riﬀ on the familiar Black IPA style, Wookey Jack is gnarly on the outside yet reﬁned on the inside. Malted Rye and a dash of Cara Rye impart a spicy grain quality to the palate, while double dry-‐hopping with Citra and Amarillo hops brings a citrusy dimension to the aroma proﬁle. The brewing team also claims to have incorporated a bit of “Wookey Dust” into the recipe. The beer is black in color, but if you close your eyes and taste it, you’ll say it’s a true IPA. Wookey Jack is unﬁned and unﬁltered to retain its woolly natural texture and character.” ABV – 8.3% IBUs – 80
“It’s a bittersweet occasion,” said David Walker. “Each of these beers was forward-thinking and representative of some of our best brewing efforts, but they are now stepping aside to make room for the next generation.”
Added Adam Firestone, “This was a hard decision made for the sake of innovation. These beers were born of that ideal, and now they are yielding to it.”
The elimination of the current Proprietor’s Reserve Series supplies the brewers at Firestone Walker with a “brand new canvas” where they can express themselves with the creation of some exciting new beers. Details on this new direction and these new beers have yet to be announced, and the brewery is being quite hush-hush on the matter at this time. As soon as we have those details, we will be sure to update you with them.
Although they enter retirement, this is not exactly the end for Double Jack, Opal and Wookey Jack. Fans of these fantastic beers can take solace in knowing that Brewmaster Matt Brynildson has said these offerings will most assuredly return at some point in the future as “curtain call” limited releases or as “reimagined” takes on these now classic recipes. As for now, all we can do is enjoy them while we have them. Those who are fond of Double Jack, Opal and Wookey Jack should get their fill while they can, and those who wish to try them for the first time need to secure their bottles before they disappear by the end of the year. Prost!