Nerd alert: I’m huge Roman history buff. I have a Julius Caesar quote tattooed on my side, and I routinely talk about the pitfalls of emperor Nero to men at bars who are trying to get in my pants. So before I begin with the beer Maximus, I felt it necessary to share that Maximus Decimus Meridius from the movie Gladiator is not based on a real Roman, although Marcus Aurelius (emperor Dumbledore) and Joaquin Phoenix were real people in history. There was a different Maximus, Fabius Maximus, who is most famous for the Fabian strategy, an evasive military tactic used for centuries, including by George Washington in the Revolutionary War.
Now you know how the guys at the bar feel. At least you haven’t spent $26 pumping drinks into me.
Which brings me to my beer of the day: Maximus Ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company. Located in Petaluma, California, Lagunitas is one of the fastest growing breweries in the US. Their Maximus Ale was originally introduced in 1996 as a jacked-up version of their flagship IPA, and the company warns that the beer’s so hoppy it could remove the enamel from your teeth.
goodbye pearly whites
Maximus pours a dark amber color with a frothy off-white head that fades away into a thin film. The smell is hoppy upfront, with some clean citrus and caramel malt notes. The bitterness from the hops is grassier in the taste, almost like pine, but well-balanced with the milder orange peel and sweet malt flavors. It’s smooth and creamy with just a little bit of carbonation, and less of an astringent, alcohol finish then I would expect from an 8.2% ABV beer.
Should I Drink It?
Maximus definitely lives up to its name; it’s got a lot of bold flavors that will hit your palate in ways most beers don’t. It’s pretty hoppy, but I don’t think it’ll destroy your tooth enamel, at least no more than Coke does. So if you like standard IPAs and aren’t afraid of a brew that packs a punch, you should take on this beer.
Or, if you want to approach it like Fabius Maximus, refuse to meet in a pitched battle and hope to wear it out in a war of attrition.
I’ll shut up now.