I’d Tap That: The Waldos’ Special Ale by Lagunitas is not your average IPA
Glassware: The true highlight of any IPA is in the aroma where the hops truly shine and make their presence known. This is true for the aggressively hopped Waldos’ Special Ale. While this beer has some heft, it still has a crisp hop bite. Glassware that traps the aroma and allows the beer to warm slowly is perfect. The Spiegelau IPA glass is always thet first choice, but a snifter will also work for this beer. Although it doesn’t trap the aroma, the Lagunitas mason jar glass is great for Lagunitas beers and is a must for fans of the brewery.
Description: The Waldos’ Special Ale pours bright gold with an white head that leaves behind thick layers of lacing on the glass. Strong notes of citrus and tropical fruit dominate the aroma with backing hop notes that are earthy and pine laden carrying sweet malts. The taste follows the aroma and has up-front citrus bitterness with pine notes flourishing afterward and giving way to a hit of sticky-sweet malt that quells the hop bite. Full body and moderate carbonation give this beer a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that imparts a hop-candy taste without being too sweet. The most impressive quality is just how well the high ABV is hidden without even the slightest bit of alcohol heat detected. This is not an average IPA, so be sure to keep this in mind before it is too late!
Food pairing: The strong hop bite and sweet malt character of the beer pair wonderfully with spicy foods. Mexican dishes are especially delicious with the Waldos’ Special Ale. Cuban, Indian and Thai cuisine feature a variety of dishes that will highlight the beer’s qualities, especially those dishes that utilize or are compatible with citrus and tropical fruit flavors.
The Final Word: Lagunitas is no stranger to the IPA category, and they have long led the way in the West Coast-styled IPA. The brewery has a slew of great hop-forward beers including the world class Hop Stoopid. With Waldos’ Special Ale, the brewery has truly made something special. While the triple IPA category still does not technically exist for BJCP, it does make a statement on just how hoppy the beer is for consumers. The high ABV also makes a strong statement, but not a strong appearance which is amazing. Simply stated, if you are a fan of hop-forward beers this is a beer that is a must have, no question. Go get some now while it is still available, because it will go fast!
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer: The Waldos’ Special Ale
Style: American Triple IPA