9/21/22: Off Color Brewing's Waddle

2:26 PM

This one's something special. Off Color is one of those few breweries who seem to craft magic whenever they put malt, hops, and yeast to water. 

When they announced Waddle's distribution range this year, I knew that I'd be able to secure a can: It's available in Chicago (and, most likely, the rest of Illinois), Missouri, and Michigan. Guess whose parents were in Michigan in time for the drop? Yeah, that's right. This one's for my mom and dad.

Off Color's a brewery that was dreamed up by John and Dave while they both interned at Chicago's Metropolitan Brewing. See, the two met at the Siebel Institute in 2008 and have been doing the beer thing together ever since. Once they finished their internship(s), they found some funders for a brewery of their own and settled right into making some of the best beer on the market.

Waddle's Off Color's take on the classic seasonal style. At 6.5% ABV, the lager features biscuit and freshly-baked bread notes, and a hop finish that's both subtle and spicy.

The lager's bouquet blankets me with rich malty sweetness that's all caramel, toffee, and shortbread. This is followed by a straw-like, almost grassy, hop aroma. The longer I let my can sit, the more fully the nose develops: After some time, there's a definite note of honey-glazed bread. Waddle's aroma is inviting for humans. For a cat? Specifically, Háma? Well, at 4 whiffs, he's a huge fan.

That's a big ol' barn boy who's a fan of the beer.

My first swig gets me bursts of caramel, honey, and freshly-baked bread that give way to a pleasant lemony quality. From this emerges spicy and bitter hop flavors that linger well into the long, roasty finish (that roasty finish, by the way, isn't something I'd expect from an Oktoberfest-style lager, but it's great nonetheless).

Waddle's mouthfeel's clean and crisp, with a mild amount of carbonation. It drinks exactly how you'd expect an Oktoberfest-style beer would: Great. 

Today's beer's curious, because it doesn't necessarily remind me of Oktoberfest celebrations, fall, or cool weather. No, it instead reminds me of being on a boat on Lake Michigan on a cloudy day. Cruising over the rolling waves, not worried about sunburn, and sitting wrapped in a towel against the lake wind. I can't explain it (nor will I attempt to), but the lager's a perfect encapsulation of that.

Off Color Brewing makes beer I enjoy. Seriously, everything I've had from them before today gets near-top markings. And, you know what? I'm proud to say Waddle's in good company there. I'm giving this stellar lager a 9.5/10. It's (so far) my favorite beer of the season.

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