Noble Hops Gastropub prides itself on being “a pub for foodies.” Located on 1335 W. Lambert Lane in Oro Valley, this gastropub has been causing a lot of hubbub lately, as residents from all corners of Tucson have been venturing out to give it a try.
Last week, my mother and I went to see if Noble Hops lives up to its word, or if it exists as another overpriced locality.
There are three menus to select from - a drink menu, an “On The Board” menu, and a main food menu. Most notably there are currently 115 beers on the drink menu, 28 of which are on tap.
Due to this large selection of draft beer, this menu changes and is updated daily.
I decided to try the San Tan Devil’s Ale from Chandler. Described as, ”west coast style pale ale,” I will remember this beer because of its citrus hop flavor, and low price of $4.50 per pint.
Noble Hops serves traditional bottled wine, but also champions the new concept of keg wine. Serving keg wine has many cost and environmental benefits because it takes almost a decade to spoil (unlike bottled wine, which deteriorates rapidly once opened).
We decided to sample the Silvertab Zinfandel from Sonoma County. At $8 per glass the keg wine was not cheaper than the bottled Zinfandel (also $8 per glass), but was still tasty.
“We love serving keg wine,” said our server Sylvia Millyard. “It’s incredible. You know when it’s keg wine because it’s so aromatic. People have been very impressed by it.” We were too.
This gastropub gets especially high marks in creativity because of its “On The Board” menu, which offers a selection of olives, cheeses, charcuterie, and sausages. Though slightly pricey, an individual offering can range from $4 to $10, this menu provides an extensive selection of samplings. Furthermore, for $15 you can get the Cheese Board, and for $18 the chef sends out the Cheese and Meat Board. Both boards are left up to the chef’s discretion.
We ended up ordering the Cheese and Meat Board, and received a scrumptious platter consisting of three meats and two cheeses, garnished with crostinis, dressed field greens, and tiny sweet pickles. The charcuterie selections were Pamplona (spicy chorizo), Serrano (cured, raw mountain ham), and Alps Sopressata (an air-dried, aged and cured salami, with coarsely ground pork, garlic, salt, red and black pepper).
One of the cheeses was Black Peppercorn Pecorino—a moist, incredibly light sheep’s cheese, consisting of black peppercorns indented throughout each slice. The other cheese was Piave from the Piave River Valley Region of Belluno, Italy. This cheese contrasted well with the Pecorino, because of its hard, dry texture and slightly sweet notes.
While delicious on their own, the meat and cheese selections were also fun to experiment with by overlapping different combinations in different bites. While I wasn’t particularly fond of the Serrano, and the garnish could definitely do without the tiny pickles, overall, I thought this platter contained generous portions; it could definitely serve more than two people, and was aesthetically pleasing.
For many, I’m sure Noble Hops exists as a place for drinks and appetizers. However, the main menu is interesting in its own right, as it contains a varied selection of salads, small bites, entrees, and burgers.
My mother and I were advised by our server that the Fish ‘n Chips entrée is quite popular, and the burgers are their signature dishes.
Under her guidance we decided to split the Fish n’ Chips ($14), and the Wisconsin Bacon Jam Cheeseburger ($10).
Both plates were enormous in portion, and appeared to be average pub creations. However, a creative, “foodie” spin marked each dish, as the Fish n’ Chips came with special dipping sauces of brown butter, and a creamy, concocted aioli. The cheeseburger was in no need of additional condiments as it too came prepared with a homemade bacon jam spread and a smoked aioli sauce.
These dishes were also accompanied with the cottage chips, which are large, seasoned steak fries. While these dishes were tasty, and the creative twists were appreciated, in my opinion this food was just a step above typical pub food.
Nonetheless, between the beverages, charcuterie and cheeses, and main courses, the end of the evening left no desire for dessert. Our bill was relatively expensive for two people ($63 before tip), but this was in part because of our enthusiasm to explore the menu.
Ultimately, this is precisely the appeal of Noble Hops. They entice their guests to enjoy their extensive menus while living up to their promise as being a “pub for foodies.”
However, as we discovered, if you’re not careful, it can be easy to run up your tab by the end of the night.
1335 W. Lambert Lane, 797-4677
Recommended Dishes: “On The Board” Menu selections, Wisconsin Bacon Jam Cheeseburger
Price Range: Beer, $1.50 to $35, Small Plates, $4 to $13; Salads, $8 to $14; Entrees, $14 to $22, Burgers, $10 or $13
What the stars mean: Ratings range from zero to four stars and reflect the reviewer’s response to the food, ambience, and service. Prices are taken into consideration.