The missus dragged me to this place in Westfield, NJ named Trader Joe's. It's difficult to describe this place as anything but a mini-Wegmans--and that's high praise from me because I enjoy going to Wegman's..
But unlike Wegman's, this place sells beer and wine. I sauntered over to the beer corner and saw Sierra Nevada and some other decent commercial beers. There's also a house brand called HofBrau, which looked appealing. Trader Joe also has his own beer, a brown bag, no-frills sixer of what may be a decent session beer, but I haven't tried it --yet.
What I did try was a six of something called JosephsBrau Brewing Co. (San Jose, CA) Winterfest. Billed as a "dark double bock lager" it looked like it might be interesting. What the hey, sez I. Winter's coming to a close, and if I don't like it, I always have Mike Sella's Scotch Ale to fall down--er--back on. And at $5.49 a sixer, the price was right.
I wasn't expecting much, but JB's Winterfest was surprisingly good--malty, smooth and well-balanced, and at 7.5% ABV, it packed a decent enough kick to warm most anyone's cockles. Really nice looking beer, too, with a superb nose.
Makes me look forward to the other sixer I picked up--we beer guys have to sample these suds in the interest of the craft, you know--called simply IPA by Kennebunkport Brewing Co. I seem to recall a suggestion on the sixer pack that hinted that this was a Blueberry IPA, but I'll fill you beer lovers in more after I try it. Also just $5.49 a sixpack, it seemed worth a leap.
What I didn't try was the "Mystery Bag" for $4.99 proffered by the salesman, who was plying his pitch on a stunning, buxom and leggy blonde of about 24 who already had two cases of mix-n-match wine in her cart. (Hey, can't blame him for trying.) But when I heard him say that you could wind up with some good beers like Corona in the bag, I decided it wasn't my, um, bag. And I knew the missus would be looking askance at me if I decided to give this innocent young lady an instant primer in beer appreciation. She was still mad at me because in Newark Airport a skycap asked if he could carry my bag, I said, "Nah. Let her walk." My trip to Trader Joe's was part penance.Anyway, Trader Joe's in Westfield. Check it out. Be back with the IPA report later.