Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Taj

The Lost Abbey does not come to mind when I think of San Diego breweries crafting IPAs.  It doesn't come to mind at all, actually.  The Lost Abbey is known for Belgian-style beers, corked and caged in imposing 750 ml bottles.  It's time to change my thinking.  The Lost Abbey's draft-only Holiday release, Merry Taj, is a serious IPA.

The burnt orange, near opaque beer is pure West Coast IPA.   I didn't taste any Belgian spices, Belgian yeast, or any other Belgian influences.  Merry Taj is a piney, bitter, full-bodied IPA.   It has some spice zip, but not the dominating spices so common in Holiday beers.  This is a meaty, complex beer.  It has a malt sweetness, but hop bitterness commands the beer.   Merry Taj is listed as an IPA but drinks bigger, and with an 8% abv it sits on the border between an IPA and a double IPA.  This beer is a sipper not a pounder.  Merry Taj is worth seeking out while it's still available.

(Two hat tips on this beer or I would not have known about it.  I first heard about Merry Taj before Thanksgiving on FM 94.9's Friday night Rock & Roll Happy Hour, the radio station's weekly profile of local breweries.  Second, Merry Taj made Brandon Hernandez's 2013 list of best new beers.)

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