Sunday, May 04, 2008
It's spring 2008 and the definition of cheap beer is changing. Barley malt and hop prices are going up, up, up and there seems to be no ceiling in sight. Fortunately, Trader Joe (or in this case Trader Josef, his German counterpart) is keeping prices down for a decent beer. The entire Josef Brau range of beers can be found for $6 a six-pack. Sure, if you really want to save money at Trader Joe's you can pick up a six-pack of Mountain Creek ($3 for six cans), but Trader Josef offers real value and a heck of a lot more real beer flavor.
Trader Josef's Dunkelweizen is a seasonal offering that shows up at Trader Joe's stores in the spring. It pours very murky, but the murkiness is just yeast, and hefe-weizens are naturally cloudy with yeast. The Hefe-weizen style originates in Germany and "hefe" means "with yeast" in German. There's lots of B-complex in yeast, which is good for you. That said, I'm surprised at the amount of yeast that ends up in my glass, even as I take measures to keep some of the yeast at the bottom of the bottle out of my glass. There's enough in suspension to probably start fermenting a typical batch of homebrew.
The beer has a decent. It smells a little spicy (normal for a hefe-weizen), but also little metallic. A metallic aroma is kind of expected in a cheaper beer. The problem is this beer isn't that cheap. The beer still tastes good, with some sweet caramel aromas, a subtle spiciness (perhaps some clove?) and a dry-ish finish. The body is light, so it goes down easy. I'd probably pick up more of this if I was in the mood for dunkelweizen and didn't feel like paying for the fancy German imports.