Uinta Brewing Co. - Detour Double IPA

Diligent readers my have taken note at my sketchy opinions regarding beers that flout their dedication to bitterness.  You know the ones, usually named after some kind of devastation of the palate or hop-based pun, proudly sporting their high IBUs like a badge of honor.  These types have been spurred on by the devotees who trade stories of how bitter their beer was, compared to your beer, of course.  More hops per ounce than anything I’ve tried?  Riveting.

You’ll excuse my vitriol, but we’ve all known them.  My main gripe isn’t with their love of bitter, but with their lack of love for anything else.  Give me a hop-forward beer, sure!  Just make sure I can at least see the other flavors in the distance.  Fortunately, there are beers being made out there that do not loose their balance to hop-hubris.  Uinta Brewing Co.’s own double IPA, Detour, I would say qualifies.    However, I must admit that when I tried it, the bottle had the added value of being fresh.  How fresh you ask?  Let’s just say you can count the very days it’s been in a bottle with one hand that’s been mangled in a drill press accident.  Not even a label on it.  Funky fresh.
So, I’m at this beer tasting, Uinta is there, and this is on the table.  I’d already had a brett beer, a raspberry brown ale, but neither really had satisfied.  I get a pour of this, but without any real notions about it.  My positive contact with Uinta most definitely balances out the way I feel about the trends IPAs have taken, double or otherwise.  A good pour, because I’m nothing if not thorough, revealed a hazy amber with a good finger of creamy white head.  The lacing was quite prominent.  A quick sniff to the snoot gave me a big resinous, piney scent.  There was still a touch of citrus and a sweet malt, but it was in a lumber mill of pine.  I braced myself for bitter and took a sip.
Wow, that is hoppy, but actually in a pretty good way.  It was bitter, but not just bitter as in biting down on a pill.  It was bitter in the way that was really unique, touched with honeyed raisin and stone fruit.  Rather bracing, in a way.  Not only this, but it passed my IPA test: I wanted another sip.  Once you start getting past the strong resinous pine sap tastes, you start to get more of the hop bouquet.  I started getting airy floral notes, dry grass, even a little bit of a green tea nutty sweetness, all complimented by the big balance of fresh, bitter hops and sweet malts.  There was something about it unlike many IPAs I’ve taste, and I think it was the freshness.  Something was noticeably green about it, like I was tasting these hops fresh.
I can’t say I was ‘converted’ like so many hop-heads before me, but I can resonate the values the best of them extol.  Freshness, complexity, unique flavor profiles, and a good balance.  If this was much lighter on the malts, I couldn’t imagine it being able to support the great bounty of hops.  So, bully on you, Unita.  Bully on making a great Double IPA that even non-hop lovers can love.