Uinta Hop Notch: The Pliny Killer

Ok, go ahead, call me a liar.  Not two days ago I said how I don’t drink beers out of season and here I am about to wax poetic about an absolutely beautiful IPA.  But here goes.  About two weeks ago I went to a dinner pairing event at Brewforia.  This event featured several stellar beers from Uinta Brewing out of Salt Lake City, Utah and one of the best of the evening was Hop Notch.  Yeah I know all the jokes about Mormons and beer, and that for decades they couldn’t sell anything over 3.2% ABV.  But they could make it, and sell it other places, and that is precisely what Uinta did and have been doing for almost 20 years now.

Hop Notch IPA has the full bodied flavor of an imperial IPA without all the booziness.  It is brewed to 7.3% ABV with 82 IBUs so there is plenty of pucker factor, and how sweet it is.  This beer has been nicknamed the Pliny Killer by my buddy Rick over at Brewforia.  This beer has a beautiful and well balanced nose and flavor mixing seamlessly floral flavors with piney and grapefruity hop character in a perfectly balanced IPA.  The mouth feel is medium bodied and it leaves a creaminess on the palate, but the little bubbles are also bright and sparkle-y.

I loved this beer at the dinner, as it was paired with some amazing crab cakes with some sort of aolie …aiole …sauce that was amazing.  The pairing was by far the best of the evening and the flavors really played off of each other well.  Imagine my happiness when I went back 3 days later to see they had put the keg back on tap, and me with my growler!  I filled up my growler, and let it sit in my fridge for the next week.  While it did lose a bit of fizz, the great flavor was still intact and I enjoyed every last drop of my 35 oz growler!

I too paired this beer with something, but it wasn’t food.  I was sent a cigar from Teds Cigars. They sent me a Maker’s Mark Cigar, a regular robusto, and a Hopz cigar.  Yes this cigar has Hops infused into it, and it claims to be a Craft Beer Cigar.  I though what a better time to smoke it then when enjoying a super hoppy IPA.

Much to my disappointment, the Hopz cigar didn’t deliver.  It didn’t make the beer a better experience, and I could taste no evidence of hops in the cigar.  Maybe my palate was just overwhelmed by the beer, but the hoppiness of the cigar was really underwhelming and didn’t do much for me.  Hopefully the Makers Mark cigar will be better.  I had high hopes for this as it actually uses hop leafs in the rolling of the tobacco, but alas it was lost on me.

I started this post by calling this beer the Pliny Killer aleuding to the fact that it is comparable to Pliny the Elder  (I have not had the younger).  Having had both I must admit that I like the Hop Notch better.  I love Pliny, don’t get me wrong, I think I am one of the few people left in America that thinks it lives up to it colossal hype.  The funny thing is, this beer is better…more balanced, and more flavorful, and yet it has almost no hype at all around it.  Maybe if it was only brewed a couple times a year in California in small batches instead of being brewed in Utah and readily available in all the states it is distributed in.  That’s the thing about hype it is a double edged sword.

If you see this beer buy it and enjoy.  You’ll never miss Pliny again!


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19 Comments on “Uinta Hop Notch: The Pliny Killer”

  1. BeerBanker
    February 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    aioli ???

    We get Uinta here in the East unlike the Pliny’s, so I’ll keep an eye out for that one..

    • Don
      February 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      Your guess is as good as mine. Aoley? If you find it give it a try and see what you think. For my money this is the BEST IPA I’ve ever had. Not bad a $3 a bottle.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    I quite like Hop Notch, too Don. The brightness and focus of the hops is absolutely brilliant. Threw me at first. Wasn’t sure I liked it. But half way into the bottle I was really digging it. There are a lot of IPAs out there. Hard to make one that is uniquely different presume. But somehow this one is. Great beer.

    • Don
      February 6, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Yeah, Chad, I’m always surprised at how good the Uinta beers are. Everyone is unique and has a great flavor profile. I don’t think I’ve come across one that I haven’t liked, even their black lager is unique and has an interesting flavor, and I’m not a huge fan of lagers, but I was quite pleasantly surprised at the Uinta dinner when they served that too. Could be a good lawn mower beer this summer.

  3. February 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Never stop aleuding, Jimbo.

    • Don
      February 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      It’s a small mind, kid that can’t figure out more than one way to spell something.

  4. February 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I bought Hopz cigars for my FiL for his retirement. He shared one with me and I have to agree with your assessment. I think tobacco just overpowers hops and so you’re left with just cigar, no hops.

    • Don
      February 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

      More hops more hops!

  5. February 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I’ll be sure to give it a try! Their Detour Double IPA was very good, but lacked some of the great hop aroma you’re describing.


    • Don
      February 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Somehow I knew you’d be the one, Alex to fix my spelling conundrum. Thanks 😉

  6. February 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    To hell w/ it Don, just call it garlic-mayo (which is what it is).

    Oh, and the beer sounds real good!

  7. Barleywhiner
    February 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Hoppy beers and cigars don’t really do it for me. I prefer something malty with a little sweetness. Actually I prefer a glass of port or a big red wine with a cigar.

    • Don
      February 6, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      If you like port or red whine with a cigar, give bourbon a try! A cigar and a nice high proof sweet bourbon is a thing of beauty.

  8. johnking82
    February 6, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    UINTA was one of my top 3 favorites at GABF this year. Their Labyrinth Black Ale is was my favorite and I managed to bring home a Cockeyed Cooper and tow bottles of their Oak Jacked.

    I haven’t heard good things about the Cigars either.

    • oliver klosoff
      February 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      I got to agree with you johnking, Labyrinth blew me away, just a fantastic beer and it’s always best when you’re not expecting it.

    • Don
      February 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Labyrinth is great as a last beer of the night. I found that out at the ungettables gathering we had a couple months back. After tasting over 30 beers I bought a Labyrinth for the table to share, and not only did everyone love it, but everyone could taste it after their palates have been fried by over 30 beers! Unfortunately the Oak Jacked never made it to Idaho, or if it did, I didn’t get any, just a very little if it made it at all. However I heard great things about it, and I will make sure I get some this year! The Cockeyed Cooper is just a stellar Barleywine IMO. Hopz was a let down, but the regular Teds cigar without flavoring was just plain solid. They are good cigars to give to non-regular cigar smokers too, because there is no humidor needed.

      • February 7, 2012 at 12:49 am #

        Oak Jacked made it to Idaho, but only 4 cases of it, I still have a couple bottles in the personal cellar, if you ever can make it over to East Boise let me know and I’ll bring one in, it’s a solid beer!

  9. February 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    The aioli was actually a remoulade, basically a Creole tartar sauce. Here’s the recipe.

    2 cups Mayo
    Juice of one lemon
    1/4 cup finely diced white onion
    1/4 cup finely diced celery
    1 tsp chopped garlic
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp paprika

    • Don
      February 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      So, yeah…Garlic Mayo. 😉

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