Raja Double IPA, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder

Style: American IPA

Serving Type: 12-ounce can

ABV: 8 percent

Hop Meter (1-10): 8

Malt Meter (1-10): 1

Reviewed: November 2015

You could feasibly thank Budweiser, Miller Coors, and other big name brewers for the proliferation of IPAs that seem to dominate beer coolers and bar taps across Colorado (and the U.S.). After all, just over three decades ago, there were only 80 breweries in the country, and they all turned out some form of Pilsner beer, and not much else. So when the modern craft beer movement began in the mid-1970s, it was only fitting that brewers would experiment with hoppier brews that would improve upon the characteristics that made Pilsners so popular. But, I doubt any of them could foresee the hop-bombs that have become so popular.

It’s the golden age for this brew style. About one in every four craft beers consumed these days are IPAs, according to the Brewers Association. So when Avery Brewing, an established maestro of all things bitter and piney, released a new year-round Double IPA, it piqued our interest. The brew fills a hole in Avery’s impressive lineup, something between their regular IPA and their imperial version “The Maharaja.”

Billed as “The Prince of IPAs” Raja comes wrapped in a bright green can emboldened with an Indian prince. Upon opening, you are immediately enveloped by a mélange of floral and fruit scents. The Vic’s Secret and Galaxy hops add a slightly tropical feel, but it’s not too exotic. This is an American IPA through and through.

The bitterness of the first sip is perfectly paired with a sweet background. The balance highlights the advances that modern brewers can achieve these days after decades of research and experimentation. At 8 percent ABV, be careful when sipping—this brew can quickly add some sway to your step. Raja is one of several new beers that Avery promises are coming now that they have moved into their new brewery. It sure is a happy time to be living in Coors country.

The Ideal Drinker: Your buddy who always brings a new IPA to the cookout and insists you try it.