If you find yourself staring out at the beautiful, uninterrupted view of the Catalina Mountains while sipping on a Sleepy Dog Leg Humper (yes, you read that right), then you’ve likely made your way to Noble Hops, located on the southeast corner of La Cañada and Lambert Lane in Oro Valley.
For the unfamiliar patron, the surrounding scenery will not be the only thing deserving of an extended stare, as, upon arrival, the lengthy drink and appetizer menus will be cause for pause and probably some internal debate. It’s a good thing the servers of Noble Hops demonstrate good judgment when it comes to unoppressive, yet timely service.
Needless to say, my Happy Hour experience at Noble Hops was a good one.
After a few minutes of pursuing the 28 beers on tap – all $1 off during Happy Hour – I started my Noble Hops experience with the aforementioned Leg Humper (regularly $4.50), a German wheat hefeweizen with hints of citrus, banana, and clove. As a fan of light beers, the fruit flavor was just a smoothly-blended bonus. Even better news, the beer wasn’t at all filling, leaving room for an appetizer. In my case, I chose the Baked Cavatappi and Cheese (regularly $8), a delicious pasta baked with melted cheese and Spanish breadcrumbs.
Though considered a “small plate,” the dish, served at the perfect temperature, and bowl-scraping tasty, was filling enough to satisfy my appetite.
I was enjoying my beverage and appetizer with co-worker and fellow journalist Randy Metcalf. His first choice for a beer was the SKA Modus Hoperandi (regularly $5.50), which is an American style IPA. It was a nice blend of bitter and hoppy that wasn’t too heavy for those who like hoppy beers but still has the 6.7 percent alcohol that comes with most IPAs.
As for his appetizer, he chose the Banger Kabobs (regularly $10), a selection of two brats and one quite spicy Italian sausage. It came with a sauerkraut salad and Noble Hops’ signature Champagne stone ground mustard.
To close out my Happy Hour experience, I had one more beer – the less humorously named and more seriously alcohol-laden Stone Enjoy (regularly $4.50).
At 9.7 percent alcohol, this 10-ounce beer certainly had more kick to it. For the lover of “hoppy” beers, this one is a good choice - in moderation, that is. The fact this beer is a bit more filling might leave it more suitable for post-meal enjoyment.
Randy closed out his Happy Hour with a Rubicon Irish Red (regularly $5.50). At 7.5 percent, this one will sneak up on you, but with the blending of cascade and centennial hops, it was deliciously smooth.
Adding to the overall experience was the relaxing atmosphere, the result of low-volume music and soft lighting, giving the setting a living room-type feel. Weather allowing, outdoor dining allows the best view of the surrounding nature, the oversized patio facing Pusch Ridge to the east.
Give Noble Hops a try. You’ll be glad you did.
(Editor’s Note: Join Explorer photographer Randy Metcalf and reporter Chris Flora next month at The Station, 8235 N Silverbell Rd. #105, from 4 to 6 p.m.)