Every now and again, a beer really surprises me. I’m not talking about being wowed by a beer, of course, that happens all the time. No, I’m talking more in the lines of going into a beer with somewhat reduced expectations based on the brewer or, in the case of Uinta Hop Notch India Pale Ale, the place the beer comes from.
I know I shouldn’t do that. But you see, the state of Utah, with its restrictive 3.2 beer laws that limit the strength of alcohol sold in many establishments, isn’t known for great beer. One gets the idea that if many ion the state had their way, Utah would have never emerged from prohibition; it never did emerge from the 3.2 phase that followed those dark days.
Anyway, I still should have known better. Utah’s best known craft brewery, Uinta, does brew a number of higher strength beers for sale at restaurants and bars with a liquor license and export outside Utah. Indeed, I had enjoyed one of them, Anniversary Barleywine, at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia, back in 2008. That beer has a hefty 9.8% alcohol content y volume, a little more than three times the crazy 3.2 limit.
Hop Notch is the brewery’s standard IPA offering. It weighs in at 7.3% alcohol by volume and a very impressive 82 IBUs of bitterness. I enjoyed a mug at my local Taco Mac here in Canton, Georgia, just a stone’s throw from my home.
Uinta Hop Notch IPA pours to a bright orange color with a thick creamy head formation and a spicy pine tar nose. There’s good Brussels lace here, and it clings to the sides of my glass and follows the liquid all the way down to the bottom. A bit of chewy caramel malt at the first sips quickly yields to bright citric grapefruit hop aroma and flavor. Resiny pine is readily apparent as well.
This beer has a delightful hop aroma and flavor complemented by a long, dry lingering, explosive bitterness in the finish. That bitterness stood up nicely to a spicy plate of Taco Mac’s famous Buffalo wings. And all this for $5.25 the pint glass (20 ounces in my Brewniversity mug).
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.