Not Just Your Average Joe – Trader Joe’s Does Beer Too?

Trader Joe’s Bavarian Hefeweizen ABV 5.3%

For years I’ve come to expect various food and drink items from your local Trader Joe’s store, among other things. To the uninitiated, Trader Joe’s is a specialty retail grocery store based in Pasadena, CA, with chains in about 9 or 10 states across the country. They’ve got a ton of different things you can buy, and plenty of it is quality stuff. Their focus on a Hawaiian sort of theme and great quality products and customer service has made them a success since the 1950’s. I never knew however that Trader Joe’s sold beer, let alone brewed their own. It seems that they have a brewery in San Jose called JosephsBrau Brewing Company, aka Trader Joe’s Brewing Co. How quickly I discovered how uninformed I was of this until I spent an evening at my aunt and uncle’s house in Westfield, because as it turns out, they had some in the fridge that they were willing to share.

Getting my hands on my very first beer from Trader Joe’s was pretty cool. What was even cooler was that my aunt was handing it to me, knowing what I do and how much I enjoy exploring new beer territory, or as I sometimes like to call it “Undiscovered Country.” Better still was reading on the bottle that it was a Bavarian Style Hefeweizen. I’ve always liked good a German wheat beer. What tops it for me was that they didn’t go with a bunch of adjuncts or other crap to throw into the beer to make it special or tasty. Nope, this beer is done the old-fashioned way – brewed in compliance with the German Beer Purity law I’ve mentioned before – Reinheitsgebot.

As the back label of the bottle reads “In accordance with the German purity law, this superior beer is brewed with a minimum of 50% malted wheat.” It is a combination of this and a special wheat beer yeast they use in the fermentation process. This strain of yeast is common to Bavaria and produces an aroma of lemon, wheat grain and banana. Meanwhile, the taste you get from this is dead-on for a great German wheat beer. The flavors of citrus, clove, banana and bubble gum make for a tasty treat any day or night. Many might argue that using such basic ingredients leaves out the possibility for good flavor. I’m here to dispel any such notion. The basic “limited” ingredients in this were mixed quite well, almost perfectly. This thing is most tasty. Oh and just so I don’t forget, this has 5.3% ABV and IBU rating is 12.

I apologize if I happen to get sidetracked, but this beer is damn good. The mouthfeel on this is smooth like silk, velvety even. The carbonation is there, but not in abundance and the sediment that remains in this unfiltered wheat beer makes for a nice hazy golden brown hue in my glass. By the way, since I didn’t have my usual glassware customary for the various styles I drink, I settled on a tried-and-true favorite: The Guinness pint glass. It worked well in a pinch. Poured out the majority of the beer into the glass, then swirled around the remnants in the bottle and added that to the pint glass. This is customary and proper etiquette for this style of beer, and should be expected of any real beer drinker worth their weight in gold. Write that down. You’ll be tested on it later.

Getting back to my story, I come to find out before I leave that there is a Trader Joe’s just a few blocks down from my aunt and uncle’s. She gave me the directions on how to get there. Of course I wound up picking up a six pack of this tasty concoction to take home with me, all while noticing on the shelf that there had to be at least half a dozen other varieties for me to choose from. Uh oh, I think I just found new trouble to get into. Undiscovered country indeed…

 

JosephsBrau Brewing Co. Bavarian Style Hefeweizen

About Jason M

Texas Style - Having grown up down south, I've grown an appreciation for the "bigger is better" mantra. Bigger and bolder flavor is something I crave in my beers. Some people are hop-heads, all they drink are IPA's and other hoppy beers. Others are big on wheat beers. Some like it dark. Me? I'm an all-the-above kind of guy. I've had a love for all varieties since I was young and that has not changed. Good beer is good beer.

I'm constantly seeking out the latest and greatest new variety, because despite having an old-time favorite beer, drinking the same old flavors over and over gets old. That being said, I've got to try something new, explore my boundaries. After all, variety is the spice of life, no?

Favorite Beers - Unibroue La Fin du Monde, Founders Backwoods Bastard, Schlafly Oak Aged Barleywine

Find me on Untappd.com

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