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You’d have to make toothpaste from hops to get a mouth-scrubbing experience like this, because few beers approach the Maximus level of aggressive bitterness and hopping while still managing to be utterly drinkable. What Lagunitas did here was take their IPA — which is a top-shelf IPA, by the way — and turn the dial up to 11. This 8.2 percent double IPA features a blistering, resin-y hop character that just explodes from the glass. It’s a face full of pine needles. A mouth jammed with pine cones. A tongue swimming in pine forest. It’s not as punishingly bitter as Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, balanced by rich malts that give the beer an almost amber color and an almost chewy body, but it’s certainly not a tame brew. If you’re an IPA drinker, you’ll want to add this one to your agenda. Maximus may be on tap at Varga Bar and Doobies Bar.
PW's Year of Beer: Victory Helios