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Last year, Societe Brewing Company (8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearny Mesa) made a lot of noise behind an ever-expanding fleet of diverse India pale ales that, even in a town awash with IPA, rated among the county’s finest. But none of those hoppy brews made as much or as compact of a splash as Societe The Roustabout, a double IPA that took top honors at the renowned Bistro Double IPA Competition held in Hayward, California during San Francisco Beer Week.

For many, the first time they heard the name of this beer was in tandem with that big win. News of its victory inspired a run on the tasting room to sample The Roustabout and led to the beer being drained from that spot and the handful of accounts that got their hands on a keg. Even in its absence, the brew that beat out the likes of Pliny the Elder and Double Jack has remained a relevant talking point among local craft beer fans — this one included.

So, you can imagine my elation when, at a recent brewing industry event, Societe co-founder Douglas Constantiner approached me, leaned in, and said, “The Roustabout debuts in the tasting room tomorrow.” That was a week ago, but it’s still flowing from Societe’s taps. But it likely won’t be for long.

Clocking in at 9.4% alcohol-by-volume with what the brewery lists as “lots” of IBUs (international bittering units, the scale used to measure hop-borne bitterness in beer), the beer bursts with tropical fruit flavors akin to mango, papaya, and passion fruit. Though a big beer showing massive hop presence brought on by Simcoe, Citra, and CTZ, it remains refreshing and highly drinkable — attributes that led to that first place showing. With so many IPAs in San Diego, few qualify as not-to-be-missed, but this is definitely one of them.

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