Last year I lost a dear beer friend of mine. The Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA from Firestone Walker. Firestone discontinued the beer last fall and I went into full-on prepper mode hoarding any bottles of Wookey Jack that I could find. I collected a small stash that kept me going for a few months. My last Wookey Jack was enjoyed on May 18th, 2017.
And while moving on is never easy, it was now time to gave another brewer a shot and see if I could fill this loss with a new beer.
I walked into the Quonset hut that houses the brewery and taproom knowing nothing about Hunga Dunga Brewery. It was a rarity for me as I usually vet out breweries before I go to ensure there will be beers there that I like. Contrary to belief, I don’t like them all!
I found myself a seat at the bar and ordered my traditional flight of beer. The last beer of my order was Hunga Dunga’s Black Rye IPA. The beertender’s eyes lit up and she said: “that one is one of my favorites”. And like a kid in a candy store (or a middle-aged woman in a brewery), I became excited for what I was about to consume.
Because I like to torture myself I saved the Black Rye IPA for my final taste and started first with the Dry-hopped Pale Ale. This beer has a 5.8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 60 International Bittering Unit (IBU). I love dry hopped beer. Hops are added after the brew is complete, but the beer is still fermenting. It adds a real punch to the aroma of the beer. And who doesn’t like a fragrant beer? The Dry-hopped Pale Ale also had a nice bit to it.
I moved on next to the Oatmeal Pale Ale. I was fascinated with this combination as oatmeal beers tend to lend themselves to the darker beers: browns, and stouts. This beer had a 5.2% ABV and a 38 IBU. I picked up a light malty flavor but the overall flavors were more of a hoppy pale ale style. It was an interesting combination that if you ever see, you should give a try.
Because I love rye my next selection was a no-brainer. The Red Rye with a 6.3% ABV and a 59 IBU that came rolling in with maltiness and a bold showing of rye flavor. There really isn’t a better combo for a red beer than adding rye in my opinion. I enjoyed this beer a lot as it was flavorful thanks in part to the higher IBU.
The Imperial Stout was up next with a 7.6% ABV and a 65 IBU. This beer has all the characteristics you want with your stout. Smokey, check. Dark and rich, check. Slight coffee note, check. The IBU is bold enough, but not overpowering giving this beer a bit of sashay.
Up next was the Hopnipotent IPA with a 5.8% and a 73 IBU. The flavors of this beer are fearless with a heavy mix of grapefruit and pine creating a tasty combination that will leave you wanting more. And it did. If I lived in Moscow Idaho, this beer would be consumed often.
Because I could not wait any longer I decided it was time to jump headfirst into the Black Rye IPA. I took a sip and let the roasted notes and rye roll over my taste buds fulling them of delight. It was a defining moment and I felt that this was it, the beer that would help me get over my beloved Wookey Jack. With a 5.8% ABV and a 54 IBU I checked this beer in on Untappd and was satisfied with my new favorite black rye IPA.
My last taste of the day was the Sasion with a 5.9% ABV and an unlisted IBU. I don’t like to admit that I make mistakes often, but when I do, I like to rip the band-aid off and get over the shame as fast as possible. My mistake was drinking a sasion after a whole plethora of heavy IBUs. My palate was pretty much wiped out, resulting in me not being able to thoroughly enjoy this beer. Although I could pick up the spicy and earthy notes they felt muted which if this beer was at the beginning of my tasting flight, I may have felt differently. I’ll have to give this one a fair trial the next time I am at Hunga Dunga.
In addition to beer, Hunga Dunga offers up upper scale appetizers and meals with a bit of flair. The presentation was pretty and the food looked delightful. Speaking of pretty, be sure to check out their tap pulls, each one uniquely different playing up their jungle-inspired logo.
I ended my visit to Hunga Dunga Brewery with the satisfaction that I had started to take the appropriate steps to get over my loss of Wookey. I would always remember Wookey fondly, but it was time for a new beer in my life to take over and Hunga Dunga’s Black Rye IPA was there for me.
Hunga Dunga is located at 333 North Jackson Street in Moscow Idaho and open Tuesday – Sunday from 4 pm to 11 pm.