Thursday, July 11, 2013

Uinta Hop Notch IPA

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (923) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 11, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had a best before date of 9/28/13 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark orange color, fairly clear but with a slight haze. Forms a large, white, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Slightly dank, resiny character with minor "cat pee" scent and citrus juice concentrate.

Taste: I like it when breweries make beers that don’t conform to their regional sub-styles. Uinta is out of Utah, but Hop Notch IPA drinks like a strong East Coast-style IPA with its resin and pine character. While there is some citrus component to it, it’s not the star of the show as would be the case in, say, a San Diego-style IPA. It’s extremely bitter throughout, but balanced enough to keep the hops from becoming cloying.

What’s funny about this beer is that while it smells dank and sticky, the actual bitterness itself is rather dry. It’s almost equally strong from the beginning to the end of the swig, though there is a noticeable peak at the apex. Through the middle of the tongue there’s a constant liquid pine flavor, though I wouldn’t consider it "Earthy" per se, and certainly not spicy. There’s some malty sweetness as well, giving the beer a dense palette rather than anything crisp or juicy. I do get mild orange flavor on the finish, which changes things up and keeps it consistently interesting. While the hops do linger a bit, they don’t fatigue me, nor is there any syrupy sensation. Satisfying and enjoyable throughout.

Drinkability: Hop Notch IPA falls into that tiny void where it’s neither crisp nor sticky. The mouthfeel is soft, but not creamy. The beer is intense across the tongue, but finishes fairly clean. It’s easy to sip or gulp. At 7.3% ABV it’s a pretty weighty brew, and it certainly takes advantage of its size, yet one serving is not overwhelming. Probably best enjoyed one bottle at a time, though. 
Grade: 9/10