Sometimes, saying goodbye to an old friend can be difficult. While selecting just one beer as my favorite is a virtually impossible task, I do have a few favorites for several different craft beer styles. Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Double Jack double IPA, for example, is on my list of favorite IPAs (double IPAs actually). Now, it looks like I’ll have to say goodbye to Double Jack and a few of his brothers. Read on to find out why.
Part of the reason I don’t have a single favorite beer or a large number of set favorites is that new craft beers come out at such a brisk pace these days. It seems you can hardly go a week lately without discovering one or more new beers on tap each time you visit your favorite craft beer bar or even some local breweries. Sure, there are some breweries out there who come out with their set list of beers and hardly ever change or introduce something new, but that approach can seem downright boring next to the plethora of breweries who are constantly coming up with something new. After all, craft beer drinkers are explorers. Most love trying new things, so we don’t tend to fall into the same rut as those who prefer mass-produced American Lagers like Bud or Miller.
Firestone Walker realizes this, so they have decided to retire the three beers that make up their Proprietor’s Reserve Series to make way for other, newer beers. The three beers that will be retired are: Wookey Jack, Double Jack and Opal. I’m a big fan of all three of these beers so I’m sorry to see them go, but I also have faith that Firestone Walker will replace them with something equally amazing. In fact, I’ve already been really enjoying their Luponic Distortion series, which is currently in its third iteration.
Here is some more information about the Proprietor’s Reserve Series retirement from Firestone Walker Brewing Company:
Paso Robles, CA—Is it truly a farewell to Wookey Jack, Double Jack and Opal as Firestone Walker Brewing Company steels itself to stop brewing these beloved beers?
The answer is complicated, but yes, Firestone Walker’s Proprietor’s Reserve line is winding down, and the three beers referenced above will accordingly dwindle from distribution by the end of the year.
“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.”
Wookey Jack (Black Rye IPA), Double Jack (Imperial IPA) and Opal (Dry-Hopped Saison) have collectively represented the Proprietor’s Reserve Series tier for several years. This tier was dedicated to smaller-batch standout beers, and as such was aligned between Firestone Walker’s widespread Lion & Bear offerings and the limited Vintage Reserve tier of barrel-aged beers.
“The suspension of the Proprietor’s Reserve tier will create a void that the brewers here are extremely excited to fill,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “It opens up a brand new canvas. That’s all I can say for now on that.”
He added, “Wookey isn’t dead yet, and neither are the others. They may make curtain calls as special limited releases, or get reimagined into something more fantastical, or both. Our Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice should be on line soon, and it will not only provide a platform for new R&D beers, but also for bringing back small batches of these Proprietor’s Reserve beers periodically for on-premise enjoyment.”
It’s nice that, as noted above, Firestone Walker plans to bring these beers back from time to time as special releases or for on-premise enjoyment. However, not being local to the brewery means that those of us here in Washington won’t likely see these beers very often anymore after the end of this year.
I’m looking forward to seeing what beers Firestone Walker will come up with to replace their Proprietor’s Reserve Series. Considering the other offerings from their Lion & Bear Series, Nitro Series, Proprietor’s Vintage Series and their Barrelworks Wild Ales, however, I doubt we have anything to worry about. I’ll keep you updated on what’s coming next from Firestone Walker as soon as they’re ready to make an announcement.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.