When I saw rows of bottles of ale from a San Jose, CA-based brewer called HERMITAGE BREWING on the shelves of a BevMo about a year ago, I'll own up to being a little dubious. I hadn't heard of these guys, and I know all - right? How'd they score a distribution deal with the former Beverages and More, and what were they doing hiding the name of the brewer on the back, rather than the front of their bottles? "Contract brew", I sniffed out. Not worthy of discussion. There's probably not even a brewery called Hermitage, and if there is, their beer's no good.
All this conjecture and misplaced speculation was dispelled when I was handed a glass of their CITRA SINGLE-HOP IPA right before the holiday really kicked into locomotive gear. Look at that, will you? I'm sick with a cold as I type this, and I feel like throwing back a half-dozen of those right now on that picture alone. This is a delicious, strong IPA. It tasted like what you kids might call a "Double IPA", and weighed in at 7% ABV. Incredible balance and a true showcase for the Citra hop. Beautiful and bright and full of citrus and juice. While I had one on draft at Mountain View, CA's TIED HOUSE, I understand this can be had in bottles as well. See you at BevMo tomorrow at 0800 hours. 8.5/10.