Tasting Notes: The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

aviary-image-15241871400464/20 is officially upon us and we are joining the party by getting into some Tasting Notes on The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Inspired by the Waldos and the “unbelievably-heady-but-totally-true story of” their daily, 4:20 search for a “Secret Garden” (click here to read more about those shenanigans), The Waldo’s Special Ale is brewed with the help of the Waldos and is Lagunitas’ only official Triple IPA.  Tipping the scales at 11.3% ABV and 100+ IBUs, The Waldos’ Special Ale is a 4/20 – or 4:20 . . . whatever works for you, man – appropriate beverage that is meant to be all things “Herbaceous. Botanical. Dank. [and] Resinous.”

The Waldos’ Special Ale is available during the month of April in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect this One-Hitter Release to be on shelves and taps “in HIIIIIIIGHly limited areas” located within Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution footprint.

Now that we are all caught up on this beer’s backstory, let’s pass thing around and start working on these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for The Waldos’ Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance: Waldos’ is a hazy, dark orange in color and is wearing well over a finger of tight white foam.  Held to direct light, those orange tones burst with vibrancy as some sunshiny yellows push through.  Although the haze makes this beer almost opaque, a slow and steady carbonation presence can be seen ambling about in there.  Head retention is pretty fantastic, and the only reason the foam cap reduces in size is because of the mind-blowing amount of sticky lace it leaves behind on the glass.

Aroma: The first thing to come to mind here is a huge amount of . . . let’s just be blunt . . . skunky, dank-ass weed.  It so blatant and abundant that is just beautiful.  That herbaceous, earthy note eventually shifts into more of a resiny pine quality.  Citrus and tropical fruit notes do attempt to push their way through the dankness, but they are pretty much sequestered in the background with a little caramel maltiness.

Taste:  The script flips a bit here as pineapple, mango, apricot and orange peel find their way to the palate first.  A grassy quality then slides through and brings that raucous, dank character with it.  This builds to become a pure danknesss that is filled with straight weed, pepper, oregano, various herbal and floral tones, and sticky pine resin.  A sweet honey and caramel sweetness sits underneath all of this, but it simply cannot compete with these hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a soft carbonation, this beer has an almost creamy texture that possesses a good amount of coating stickiness.  Bitter hoppiness is the name of the game here, but the malts do what they can to loosen the hops’ hold on the tastebuds.  The ABV is nearly unnoticeable and that is absolutely shocking considering this beer sits at 11.3%.  The aftertaste is all honey-laced bud.

Final Thoughts:  Well . . . it is incredibly easy to confirm that The Waldos’ Special Ale lives up to its billing as a 4/20 tribute beer.  The hops are just off-the-charts dank, and they certainly grab a hold of the palate with authority.  That said, this beer is definitely more than a one trick pony.  For instance, the malts are dialed in nicely to impart just enough flavor and balance to keep this lip-smacking, jaw-numbing, enamel-stripping experience manageable.  Also, we still cannot wrap our heads around how the brewers were able to completely hide an ABV of this height. It is simply mind-boggling.  Once you get beyond those pungent hop notes that may conjure up some memories of your college apartment, the level of craftsmanship in this beer becomes so clear that you could literally spend hours contemplating its beauty.  Considering the date, I think many of us have the time to do just that today.  If you can, get yourself some of The Waldos’ Special Ale and settle in for one hell of a ride.  Prost!