Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trader Joe's Surprise

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.


Todd Cohen said...

That place is the best....and when you're not trying the beverages, you can check out the assortment of food that you typically don't find in the supermarket. The edamame and orange sorbets are two of my favorites.

Are you in AC this weekend? It seems like the Pubscout's dream....state wrestling and the big beer convention!

Kurt Epps-The PubScout said...

Nah, darn it. I have a commitment tonight. But you're right about The Dream, especially since the Beer Thing would have been free for me.

Edamame? Is that something sold in San Francisco?

Unknown said...

Well Mr. Kurt Epps, I'm going to have to ask your advice about something, which I haven't done since I was a student of yours, many years ago.

I love beers with a bit of extra hop bite to them. I've recently fallen for Troegs Hopback Amber (If you're not familiar, I recommend it). I was wondering if you could recommend a few of your favorite, more 'hoppy' beers.

Glenn H. Mason, Mr. ALJ 1991

Kurt Epps-The PubScout said...

Mr. Mason! Great to hear from you! Yes, Troeg's HopBack is a fine brew. IPA happens to be one of my favorite summer brews. Victory Hop Devil may be the top of the line here, but Lancaster Brewing's Hop Hog is also superb. Closer to home, Ike's IPA (Uno's Grill and Brewery, Rt.1 near Menlo Mall) is one of my staples. Can't go wrong with Harpoon, either.

Once again, great to hear from Mr. ALJ 1991! Cheers!