More beer fans are discovering the delights of the Single Hop Series from Hermitage Brewing Company, established in San Jose in 2009. The Single Hop Series is a line of IPA offerings that seeks to inform beer drinkers about hops, one of the essential ingredients in beer that produce many of its aromas and flavors. The first Single Hop Series beer was released in 2010. Each of the beers in the series focuses on one particular hop varietal, and by keeping the rest of the brewing recipe the same, drinkers can get a better sense of the particular characteristics of the selected hop.

Lead brewer Greg Filippi shares that it was the Citra Single Hop IPA debuting in 2011 that helped to put Hermitage Brewing Company on the map. Citra, with its predominantly floral and citrus aromas and citrusy, resinous pine flavors, has been a popular choice among hopheads; fortunately, Citra is now made year round.

Recent, well-regarded releases have showcased the Galaxy and Simcoe hops. The Galaxy IPA is defined by its ripened grapefruitlike qualities both in the aroma and flavor, while Simcoe has a tropical fruit aroma combined with citrus flavors. The newest product in the Single Hop Series features the El Dorado hop, which has only been around since 2010. During a recent tasting of the El Dorado IPA from a bottle taken right off the bottling line, tropical fruit aromas and flavors were abundant. I knew right away that I had just discovered one of my new favorite IPAs.

Filippi noted that the El Dorado profiles a high alpha acid content, giving this hop a healthy dose of bitterness punctuated by tropical fruit flavors. Brewmaster Peter Licht observed Òhard candyÓ flavors.

A special El Dorado cask, in which the beer is naturally carbonated, will be tapped at Mountain ViewÕs Tied House on Friday, May 3, at 5pm. In addition to finding it on tap at Tied House, many of the local stores that carry craft beer currently stock 22-ounce bottles of El Dorado, Citra and Simcoe.

Later this summer, these and other Hermitage brews can be enjoyed directly at the source: Hermitage plans to open a tasting room at its current brewery location. Licht hopes that the tasting room will be ready by the end of June.

Beer Tasting Friday, May 3, 5pm
Tied House