Where’s Waldo? is a super fun book series I enjoyed when I was growing up. When we had library day I was always surprised that Where’s Waldo? was allowed, considering that reading is not a required skill for enjoying these books. In 1986 UK illustrator Martin Hanford invented Where’s Wally?, which is known as Where’s Waldo? in the US and Canada. The concept was to create a character with an obvious focal point who hides in a super busy illustration, to create a picture book that caused the viewer to search for the main character. It was instantly a huge artistic success selling over 43 million copies in 33 different countries and 22 different languages. In-fact most countries have their own name for Waldo, including Willy in Norway, and Ghouoli in Greece.
The beer that inspired this beer parody painting is The Waldos’ Special Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company. The beer was brewed in honor of completely different Waldos, however. The Waldos that Lagunitas is referencing in this remarkable ale, is a group of hippies that stem from 1970s Northern California. They were the first to create a connection between cannabis and 420, and were all about goofing around and having a good time, trying to get out to the “Mystery Spot” for a bit of good surfing, but also just to hang, throw the football around, and be a group of cool cats. The Lagunitas website can lend you a lot more information about these Waldos.
The thing about the Waldos’ Special Ale is that it was kind of hard to find, just like Martin Hanford’s illustrated character. I had to go to two different shops to get my two bottles, which is unusual for Anchorage! Like the illustrated book character, it is also not to be missed in a group of regular beers. This special ale, coming in at 11.5% with over 100 IBUs is not a session IPA! This beer will melt your brain after only one serving. I guess that is why Lagunitas put it in its OneHitter series! I propose a toast to finding The Waldos’ Special Ale! If you have one in your beer fridge, bust it out now as this one should be enjoyed while still fresh!
The original oil painting, and 52 limited-edition prints are for sale at my Etsy shop, RealArtIsBetter.