I was unsuccessful getting The Waldos’ Special Ale last year, so I went on the hunt early this time. Let me just quickly state that this big ol’ hoppy beer (Untappd labels it as another “Triple IPA”) is outstanding, and you should definitely find a sixer before it disappears off the shelves for another year.
Poured on the patio against the setting sun gave the appearance of the beer spilling into the evening sky as golden orange of the liquid mirrored the color on the horizon. The cloudlike head quickly settled to a depth of about ¼” atop the liquid and was sustained by vigorous small bubbles arising from the bottom and sides of the glass.
The label doesn’t really tell you what kind of beer this “Special Ale” truly is, but the aroma leaves no doubt. Heavy notes of pine and grass leap from the glass not only assuring you this beer is a definite hop-head’s delight, but they also reveal its West Coast attitude. The nose also gets lemon/lime tartness and a bit of orange with just a hint of deeply covered tropical and floral sweetness.
After the aroma, I was taken aback by the initial sip of the beer. The hops seemed a bit subdued in the mouth, and while still prominent, they allowed other flavors to come through. The front of the tongue picked up a carbonation burn and light biscuit and bready flavors. The middle of the tongue found hints of the malt sweetness and tropical sweetness of pineapple. The sides of the tongue picked up a lemon tartness before the back was awash with light pine notes. The first sip was delicious, but not the hop coup that I expected.
The aftertaste is where the hops drop their inhibitions and takeover. The mouth explodes with heavy bitter pine and grassy flavors on the back of the tongue. As the aftertaste travels forward, citrusy orange flavors morph to tropical mango and melon contrasted by just a tinge of alcohol heat on the middle of the tongue. Allow ample time between sips, and the hop characteristics slowly fade to a malty sweetness. However, sipping again reveals quite interesting differences in the flavor of the beer as the hugely hoppy aftertaste influences the beer in the mouth.
So where’s Waldo? He could be passed out behind the couch if he didn’t realize that these insanely delicious beers pack a big punch at 11.9%. But don’t worry about him, get out there and find The Waldos’ Special Ale before the 2017 Release is all gone.
Outdoor Friendliness (bottles not so much, but also available on-tap means growler/Crowler options)…6/10
Aroma (huge hop bouquet)…9/10
Flavor (initially subtly sweet before the aftertaste takes over and the hops shine)…10/10
Style-Appropriateness (“Special” and beyond category)…Not Rated
Alex writes a beer review every other Friday, a few weeks ago he sipped on the Boulevard’s Rye-on-Rye-on-Rye.