By Aaron Ramson
Most beer bloggers review the latest and greatest whales (slang for that unattainable rare beer that gives you cred and respect from the pompous and pretentious craft beer community), showing off their bottle trading skills and influence while signaling their knowledge of what’s cutting edge.
Well someone’s got to keep things bottom shelf around here, and it may as well be me!
That’s right, I once again take it upon myself to review what the French call “des ordures bière”.
This is the first edition of my Trader-Joe’s series of beer reviews, and boy are you g-…. I’m sorry I need a moment.
Why do I do this to myself? Seriously.
I’m having a come to Jesus moment right now.
Why am I reviewing mediocre beer for a living?
Why didn’t I finish college and get that accounting degree like I was supposed to?
What is the meaning of love?
Why don’t I have a better relationship with my mom?
I’m going to go sob, fetal-position in the bathtub until I feel whole again, brb…
And I’m back! I took care of that wee existential crisis and it’s time to review weird beers from Trader Joe’s!
- Joe-Joe’s Cookie Stout – 6% ABV, Anchor Brewing Co.
Joe-Joe’s Cookies are a toucan-fronted, Oreo knockoff that is a flagship product from Trader Joe’s. Brewed by the makers of Anchor Steam, this grocery store collaboration raised a little bit of hype upon its release, but is it any good?
The beer is a beautiful jet-black color when poured into a glass, with a nose that gives off hints of sugar-frosting and baking chocolate. The taste follows the nose with a sweet creaminess that blends vanilla and mocha, with some dark roasted coffee going on. There’s a hint of artificial flavor detected, but the acidic, roasted finish covers it nicely enough. The mouthfeel is a bit oily, which makes me think that actual Joe-Joe’s were used in the recipe.
Sold in 22 oz. bottles for a limited release, this milk stout is exclusive to Trader Joe’s Markets only, and can still readily be found in the Palm Desert location. It’s not world class by any means, but is worth the $4.99 price tag and will satisfy those new to trying craft, as well as open minded craft veterans.
- TINTINNabulation pineapple IPA – Campanology Brewing Co.
Pineapple is an unusual fruit for a pale ale, with Ballast Point creating the only well-known product on the market with their Pineapple Sculpin. Fruit beers themselves can be tough sells, and it takes a skilled brewer to integrate them into a style skillfully.
Tintinn pours a hazy golden color, with a quickly disappearing white head. The nose gives off tropical and citrus hops, with some fruitiness that’s not immediately identifiable as pineapple.
The flavor follows nose, as a first sip tastes like pine and citrus along with some tropical fruit notes. It is lightly bitter in the way of most modern IPA’s, but lacking any kind of real hop punch. The bottle gives credit to Campanology Brewing Co. as the maker, and those dudes are apparently stingy with hops, I’m just saying.
The Pineapple flavor is not pronounced at all and very much a background note. And there’s a little too much malt going on; the marzipan notes in the flavor take away from the fruit.
Tintinn ultimately comes across as inoffensive and easy drinking, but also dull and unimpressive. I’d recommend it for those who are curious, but advise IPA lovers to stay away as I found it a bit of a disappointment.
That’s it for my first installment of weird beer reviews! Although they’re not all craft, Trader Joe’s is a great place to find new and different brews that you may not be used to, and at a price point that’s always easy on the wallet.