Having moved last month from the San Francisco’s Peninsula to the South Bay, I’m eager to try the best beers the South Bay has to offer. A lot has happened, beer-wise, in the 2 1/2 years since I left and I’m looking forward to catching up. Of course, if you’re one of the few remaining loud-mouthed beer geeks from San Francisco (or elsewhere) constantly sneering at the South Bay Beer scene, you’ll dismiss this whole enterprise. But then, that crowd proves nothing more than they like to talk a lot about stuff they know nothing about and need to get out more.
But these days even the most jaded San Francisco-phile (Is that a word?) will grudgingly admit plenty of good beer can be found from South Bay breweries. And Exhibit A is our Beer of the Month for November, Ale of the 2 Tun Imperial Stout from Hermitage Brewing.
It’s a real roast bomb. There’s lots of bitter chocolate and some coffee flavors, and just a slight grassy hop finish. It’s very dry with hardly any sweetness at all, giving it a rather sophisticated taste. But this isn’t one of those beers that’s “an acquired taste” as it goes down smooth despite all that roasted bitterness with almost a creamy consistency, and its 9.0% abv is virtually undetectable.
Just who is Hermitage Brewing anyway? Hermitage started in San Jose in 2009 when the Tied House brewpub closed down its downtown San Jose location and move the brewing equipment to its current location just south of downtown. In addition to its own beer line up, it produces beer for the remaining Tied House location in Mountain View and contracts out its capacity for other firms in the soda and beer industry. The current brewing team includes Brewmaster Ron Manabe, Brewmaster Peter Licht, Brewer Greg Filippi. They recently picked up brewing free agent and four-time consecutive GABF winner Brewer Steve Donohue who recently left Firehouse.
Next week, we’ll discuss why Rice-A-Roni is the San Francisco treat. Or should we say the ‘Frisco Treat?