There is a Trader Joe’s grocery store that recently opened close to where I live in Central NJ. The interesting thing about this grocery store is that it has a liquor license. It is not a common thing in New Jersey to go into a grocery store and find wine and beer. I found that Trader Joe’s has their own brand of wine and beer as well as selling beer from other breweries , such as Sierra Nevada, St. Mission, and Goose Island. All are sold at decent prices. This is the first installment of a series that will cover Trader Joe’s brand brews. Average price for a six of Trader Joe’s beer = $5.99. There a a nice handful of styles to choose from, and for a buck a bottle I am interested to see how they fair.
Let me first say that when I walked into Trader Joe’s it was around 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon. The place was packed and as I walked up to the beer isle I was surprised to find it was nearly picked clean! I could only think that maybe Trader Joe’s beer must be pretty decent. I only had a couple options available to me. I spied one lonely six pack of Trader Joe’s Vienna Style Lager. I quickly grabbed it before anyone else could get to it, and gave it a home in my fridge!
Later I pulled out a pint glass and cracked one open. It had a rather clear, reddish amber body with an inch thick off white head that disappeared in about 30 seconds. The nose was sweet, like vanilla and caramel with a buiscuty quality. It was sweet with a toasted malt flavor. The finish was slightly bitter and clean. It reminded me of Yuengling’s Traditional Lager but with more malty and more matured flavor. The mouthfeel was medium and was very smooth. I barely noticed the 5.7% abv. I liked this beer, and imagine it would pair well with some backyard grillin’! I think it hit all the right chords for the style, and for $6 I would totally have it again. For the price I think this is an excellent beer, especially for those who may want to try something with more flavor but are not yet willing to put out $10 for other craft beers. I would go so far as to say this could be a gateway craft beer! So Trader Joe’s Vienna Style Lager gets good marks. Check back for other Trader Joe’s brews to see if they do as well. Here’s to Good Beers!