Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hop Notch (Uinta Brewing Company)

I had never heard of Uinta Brewing Company before I spotted Hop Notch in the beer case at Avenue Wine & Spirits a few weeks ago. I'll admit that my decision to grab the six-pack was based only partly on a craving for something new, and mostly on the package design, which has a cool "retro" appeal similar to the graphics used by Great Divide Brewing Company. Also, each bottle has a compass dial debossed around its shoulder, which is a nice touch.

I felt justified in the superficiality of my impulse buy when I got home and did a little research about Uinta. From the Salt Lake City brewery's website: "Since 2001 Uinta Brewing has been 100% wind-powered, becoming the first Utah company to reach this mark. In an effort to continue its commitment to using renewable resources, Uinta Brewing installed solar-electric paneling on the brewery's roof in 2011."

Of course I realize that this factor does not affect the taste of the beer, but I'm always pleased to support a business that understands that commerce and the stewardship of natural resources need not be mutually exclusive pursuits. Then again, I wouldn't buy crappy beer from a company just because I admire its environmentalism, so let's see how this stuff tastes.

The beer pours a chill-hazed pale apricot color, with white, fluffy foam. Nice lacing as it drains. The nose is pungent and citrusy, leaving no doubt that hops will be the flavor's main attraction.

The grain sweetness of the body is tightly ensnared by bitter hops. The taste is almost savory -- the description "serious" comes to mind, as it did when I drank the commendable Red's Rye P.A. from Founders. The carbonation gives a foamy expansiveness to the mouthfeel. There is a hint of a grassy, herbal note as the flavor wanes -- something I found myself chasing after with every sip. The finish is long and bitter with some light malt flavors surfacing at the far end.

There is a ton of flavor to Hop Notch, and evidence of careful craftsmanship. For me, a very nice tasting IPA like this is often the gateway drug to a brewery's other offerings, so stay tuned. Congratulations to Uinta for breaking into the Delaware market and for everything else they're doing right.

Featured beer:
Hop Notch

Honorable mention:
Red's Rye P.A.

1 comment:

  1. Although I already knew my gazintas, I was not familiar with Uinta until your blog post educated me. Now I'm looking forward to a sample of their brew!