Monday, February 04, 2019

Image from the Chicago Tribune article "How are those Trader Joe's, Costco and Aldi beers? We taste 30 in time for Super Bowl shopping" written by Josh Noel.
Here is a decent article from the Chicago Tribune about supermarket beers; some are described as good and some are quite bad. I've only tried about half of these so I guess I've been too snobby lately. I don't entirely agree with the writer regarding the Alternate Dimension from Trader Joe's (see my earlier post) but the Boatswain beers are truly horrific which is why I haven't written about them here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Here we have an attempt at something German called Altbier. This is Alternate Dimension from Trader Joe's. The back label says the brewer used a special Alt yeast from Dusseldorf. Pretty impressive for $7 a sixer, right? But is it good?

With bit of a pretzel-like aroma, a pleasant maltiness and just the right amount of bitterness, Alternate Dimension is a very drinkable beer. In fact, I've tasted quite a few much higher-priced Altbiers and this one is just about as good. I might go back for's just too bad that it's so hot outside....(I like my darker beers when it's colder.)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Here's a new Trader Joe's beer (at least new to me) that I picked up today. It is a dry hopped red ale that clocks in at 7.2 percent. I paid $7 for the six-pack which I think is cheap for craft beer these days. The label design of thus beer appeals to me, with the VW bus and hop cones and all. Dry-hopped is always good. That said, this ale is hopped with Tettnang, which is a unusual choice for dry-hopping an ale. Most U.S. brewers would use Mount Hood, which is a Tettnang-like American hop. There's just a brief burst of a spicy hop note in this beer. There is, however, a satisfactory hop flavor. The carbonation seems a bit off at first but I realize my glass is not clean. I transfer the beer to a clean glass and it foams up nicely with a lasting head. Poured into a tall pilsner glass, I notice the Tettnang hops a little more. All in all a pretty enjoyable red ale with good caramel malt sweetness balanced by enough spicy hops to keep it interesting. Be careful though, as this beer is quite quaffable for it's 7.1 percent alcohol by volume!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Revisiting a couple German-style beers from Trader Joe's this evening. The first is Josephsbrau Hefeweizen. It is an unfiltered wheat beer brewed to 5.3 percent alcohol by volume. Perhaps on the higher side of sessionable, it is certainly a decent weizen to be had for seven dollars a six-pack. There is the typical banana-clove flavor profile, albeit somewhat muted. Good stuff.

The Dunkelweizen is priced the same. It pours a very hazy amber with a muted spicy nose with a suggestion of orange. Again, this isn't your fancy Paulaner, Ayinger or Franziskaner. Interestingly enough the dunkelweizen is a a tenth of a percent weaker than the weizen with 18 versus 12 IBUs. All this mumbo jumbo means is that they added more hops in the dunkel, probably to balance the addition of caramel malts. The result is a dunkel that is not as sweet as most which is something that I rather enjoy.

Update: I have found out this evening that noted beer writer, homebrewer and craft beer pioneer Fred Eckhardt has died. He was 89 and I believe he appreciated the German styles. Cheers, Fred! Here's a column he wrote for his 80th birthday.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicago area people! Pilsner Urquell cans are on sale at Jewel for $1.29 a can. I love these vintage-style cans. I'm a sucker for them. PU isn't really a cheap beer, but it is more affordable than some of the craft lagers these days. It is still a go-to beer for me, especially on weeknights. The 4.4 percent ABV will treat you right and still 40 IBUs after all these years....

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

So the other day I was told about Josephsbrau Prost (Rich Malty Lager) by my cashier at Trader Joe's. The conversation went something like this, "Do you like beer? Do you like bock? We have a new Maibock, do you want to try it?" The look on my face must've have shown indifference because the cashier followed with "it's only a dollar a bottle and I can get you one if you want." I agreed to try it and he fetched the bottle. "If you don't like it you can bring the empty bottle back and we'll refund your money."

Well,'s not hat bad. It's not great either, but at 7.3 percent alcohol by volume it at least provides a fairly flavorful cheap buzz. The maltiness isn't that smooth, but it is slightly complex with some interesting caramel notes and almost a hint of coffee. Yeah, I know a little weird for an amber bock, but not bad. At a buck of bottle it's a decent low-end craft beer that I think fits the high-end of the cheap category. Available now for a limited time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I collect "retro" and vintage beer glassware. My most recent purchase replaced a Hamm's pilsner sham that got knocked over and broke into pieces. The new glass (pictured) promotes Busch Bavarian, an old Anheuser-Busch product (now Inter-Bud-Ambev or whatever) that was recently re-packaged into cans with a retro label from just after the time when the "Bavarian" part of the name got dropped. As you can see, the can says "Clear and Bright as Mountain Air" and "Busch Classic." The can says the beer was introduced in 1955 as Busch Bavarian. Wikipedia adds that it changed to just Busch in 1979. I'm guessing that real Bavarians were appalled by the original name and made Bud change it.

This beer has a bubblegummy and slightly fruity smell laced with a sort of medicinal aroma.It tastes very watery and light for its 4.7 percent alcohol by volume, with a bit of bubblegummy sweetness and a dryish, but slightly sweet finish. It's definitely light, but with a fairly inoffensive amount of corn. This stuff initially formed a bit of a rocky head (which I missed in the photo) and which I haven't been able to replicate since, which makes me think it was my imagination. Budweiser has always equaled Wonder Bread. They brew the Wonder Bread of beer and in this sense, Busch doesn't disappoint. That said, it seems like the kind of beer that just doesn't get you drunk, it makes you stupid and maybe a nasty, old, hillbilly. Oh, and if you're still interested, I paid a little about a buck for the big can and I noticed it's $3.40 a six-pack, definitely qualifying as cheap.

Well, what else can I was time to head for the mountains.