San Jose’s Hermitage Brewing Company (HBC) debuted two new offerings last week – 408 Session IPA (5% ABV, 60 IBU) and Villa Street American Red Ale (5% ABV, 45 IBU) – during a release party held on Aug. 19 at the HBC Tap Room (1627 S. First St.). These beers were also available at sister brewery Tied House in downtown Mountain View (954 Villa St.).
Despite a short notice for the release party, the Tap Room attracted a busy stream of customers, especially for a Wednesday evening – a good indication of Hermitage Brewing’s growing popularity. Tap Room manager Joel Wind and the staff provided skillful and knowledgeable service, while brand managers Peter Estaniel and Nicole Marquez were on hand to field any additional questions.
The 408 Session IPA appeared to be the favorite of the evening – many bottles were purchased to take home. I understood why – great aroma and flavor from the Equinox hops with a distinctive smooth, yet solid, mouthfeel. As much as I enjoyed the 408, I preferred the Villa Street American Red Ale, at least on this particular evening. The citrus aroma and flavor from the Galaxy hops provided a bright complement to the sweet malt for an enjoyable hoppy red.
Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez, the director of marketing for both Hermitage and Tied House, provided me insights as to how these beers came to be. “We wanted to come up with a project that would shine some light on the South Bay and its vibrant brewing community, which is why we jumped at the chance to brew the ‘408.’ ‘Villa Street’ was an obvious choice for a second name since HBC’s sister brewery, Tied House, has been located on Villa Street since 1987.”
She continued, “The other reason for these beers is that we heard a lot of requests for smaller beers from Hermitage, so these two are our answer. I’m really proud of the entire concept, the look of the labels and the end product. I worked with graphic designer Marcel Miranda, and he created exactly what I envisioned. The hops I chose to have the brewers dry hop these beers with turned out to be great choices, too. The Galaxy hops make the red ale very interesting, and the Equinox hops are perfect for adding an extra layer of flavor to the IPA.”
Carolyn added that both beers should be going into a year-round rotation. They can currently be enjoyed on tap at the HBC Tap Room and available in 22-oz. bottles at the Tap Room and at your local bottle shop.
Below are the descriptions of both beers from Hermitage Brewing Company and head brewer Greg Filippi.
408 Session IPA
408 is the area code for San Jose and the surrounding areas, home to Hermitage Brewing. Our 408 Session IPA pays respect to the rich brewing tradition of the Silicon Valley.
Head brewer Greg Filippi says this of the new release:
408 Session India Pale Ale pours a brilliant golden color like summer sunshine in your hand. Hop aroma wafts from the glass before your lips make contact for the first sip, enticing you with a sense of what is to come. There are no frills here, with just enough of a malt backbone to help the hops stand up and take center stage. The hop flavor is smooth and pleasant, with a subdued bitterness and a nice green grassy character underscored by notes of tropical fruit. The beer finishes dry and smooth, fading cleanly off the palate and leaving you yearning for the next sip.
Villa Street American Red Ale
Villa Street American Red Ale is an homage to sister brewery, Tied House, which has been on Villa Street in Mountain View since 1987. It is a beautiful American red ale, dry hopped with Galaxy hops.
Head Brewer, Greg Filippi, says this of the new release:
Villa Street Red pours a deep copper to red color with ample foam in the glass. The aroma is immediately hoppy, with notes of pine and citrus and undertones of sweet caramel malt. The hop character continues strongly into the flavor with a classic west coast style of resinous pine and subtle grassiness, with hints of grapefruit citrus brightening things up. The finish is moderately dry for the style, but the sweet malt lingers on the palate with just a trace of hop deliciousness.
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