Griffo Distillery can be found in Petaluma, California. Around the corner lies Lagunitas Brewing, one of the kings of the craft beer scene, especially on the west coast. Lagunitas’s most prized brew is The Waldos, a triple IPA that is released as a highly limited one-off each April. (I’ve had it once. It was delicious.)
Naturally, Griffo figured that if The Waldos was that good, then whiskey made out of The Waldos must be even better, right? And so we have it, Still Waldos, a single malt whiskey “accented with hops.” Here’s a little bit of the story:
It all began at Lagunitas where brewers created the epic Waldo mash using 100% malted barley, water and yeast. They then fermented the mash, creating the alcohol in the beer. A half-block away, the Griffo team was ready to take over. They added the fermented mash and the Waldos’ hops to the copper pot still and then ran it through the still two separate times. The spirit was then proofed down to 120 and put into a large American Oak cask made by famed French cooperage Seguin Moreau.?After a few years of aging, the spirit that is “Still Waldos” is ready – soft, floral, and hoppy.
The Waldos is a boozy beer. What’s it like at 42% abv? Let’s give it a whirl.
This is an unusually vibrant beer-based whiskey, sweeter than expected and quite fruity. A nose of fresh hops and caramel malt offer a grassy aromatic profile tempered by baking spice, melted chocolate, and dried flowers. There’s a potpourri quality here that’s a familiar part of hopped beer-based whiskeys, though it’s never overpowering, the rose petal notes ceding time to sesame and vanilla elements.
The palate has much of the same texture — easy on the tongue with an initial rush of brown sugar, vanilla, and a little barrel char, then a rolling, resinous note of juicy hops, the mushroomy, grassy qualities a bit scorched here. Some baked apple and tropical fruit notes build as the whiskey develops in glass, perking up the experience with a bit of a fruit medley quality that keeps any overt bitterness in check. While the finish certainly reminds the drinker of the hop-heaviness of The Waldos, it also keeps it all in balance, making room for milk chocolate as the final fade-out.
84 proof. Reviewed: Batch #1.
A- / $96 / griffodistillery.com