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!