Friday, December 2, 2011

B4TW - Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale

Bull E Vard's Beer For The Weekend posts have been one of my favorite parts about this blog, so I thought it only made sense to keep them going.

It's getting colder. Snow is starting to get forecasted around the country, and will inevitably hit KC soon. Plus, Christmas is sneaking up on us and some of our beer budgets are getting redirected toward gifts for people that we have to pretend to care about. So, what better than a nice dark beer that will warm you up a bit and will go easy on your wallet?

Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale is just that. Now, some of you may scoff at the fact that I'm recommending a Trader Joe's beer. But keep in mind that Trader Joe's has contracted their brewing to such breweries as Goose Island, Firestone Walker and in this case, Unibroue.

Unibroue has brewed up a Belgian strong dark ale that has a good amount of spice and a touch of sweetness to keep things balanced. This is the perfect beer to sip on in your living room while you watch the temperature drop and think 'Good God, I'm glad I don't have to go out there.' At 9% ABV, this will definitely make A Michael Buble Christmas considerably more entertaining, and for only $4.99 a bomber, it shouldn't ding your bank account too terribly.

Generally, I can't stand Trader Joe's or the socially unaware customer base that clogs its aisles. But, I will say that for the combination of price and quality, this beer is worth braving the ineptitude for. That's why Trader Joe's 2011 Vintage Ale is the beer for the weekend.


  1. Trader Joe's is the ONLY option in town if you want decent wine...and I stress decent, not particularly note-worthy, for well under market price. It's the place to go if you're stuck either hosting or being in charge of vino at a holiday party. TJ's is definitely the place to go if your party calls for sangria or some other wine drink like glug, etc.

    That being said, the same dynamic doesn't seem to apply to their in-house beer selection. I've never tried the TJ brand stuff. The rest of their beer selection is pedestrian and certainly nothing to lactate about concerning price. But when I look at their six packs, it's like the opposite of shopping at Royal on 103rd/State Line. There, I'm a kid in a candy store, giddy like a schoolgirl with all the selection.

    Can't beat their prices on groceries for the most part. Plus they're just down the road from McGonigles, which actually is the best place in KC to buy meat products.

  2. In my experience, the TJ brand stuff is all over the place. Stockyard Oatmeal Stout, I would buy and drink again. Trader Jose I wouldn't give to my worst enemy. I wasn't sure what to expect with the Vintage Ale, but I'm glad it gave it a shot, I really did enjoy it.

  3. Yeah, I tried the TJ Vintage Ale last year and it was great.

  4. The TJ's brand beer can be hit & miss but here's a list that tells you who brews what for them. You can't go wrong with Mission St for sure :)

  5. Agreed, the mission st 2011 anniversary ale was legit, and cheap!

  6. Great to see you're keeping the
    B4TW tradition alive and well. If it wasn't for my utter disdain for TJ (and the madness it creates at WPC), I would give it shot. Do appreciate the "outside the box" suggestion, though. Looks like a Royal evening for me...

  7. Just so you know, if I were still doing this thing, the beer for the weekend would have been Free State Winter Fest.

    Good job so far Pat, you're doing much better than I could have hoped at keeping this little place going.

  8. I've tried a variety of Trader Joe's beer. Mission St. IPA is alright for the price, Stockyard Oatmeal Stout is pretty good, Oranjeboom lager sucks, Black Toad Ale I liked at first, but now it seems too sweet, Kennebunkport IPA has a strange taste, Josephsbrau Winterfest is too alcoholic and has an aftertaste. I have high hopes for the Vintage Ale.
    Free State Winter Fest I've not seen nor heard of.

  9. Blech, It may be a failure of my palate, but I though the "holiday spices" in this beer tasted medicinal and soapy. Still not bad for the price point, very comparable to a Stone collaboration holiday beer I had, but... I'd just pick up a bottle of Delerium Noel or a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's christmas beer.