It rare for a San Diego brewery to avoid IPAs, and while Tomme Arthur and his Belgian-inspired crew at The Lost Abbey have delivered “inspired beer for saints and sinners alike” since 2006, they’ve skipped over California’s most popular beer style entire, until Merry Taj. If you’re going to wait more than seven years to break hop barriers, you might as well make it a double. I was lucky enough to experience what will happily become The Lost Abbey’s latest fall seasonal at The Surly Goat. Merry Taj, with a name that traditionally refers to a high quality blend of wine, is an 8% ABV double IPA that harmoniously melds five different hop varietals: Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, and Simcoe. The beer beautifully balanced bright fruit flavor with hop bitterness. I easily could have refilled my glass all afternoon, if it wasn’t for the Goat’s powerhouse tap list.