Ah, Bavaria. Beer, BMW, Oktoberfest, more beer! What’s not to like? After all, the Germans have a reputation for being precise, efficient, and dedicated to all of their pursuits, from beer-making to sports:
So when I saw that this Trader Joe’s beer is Bavarian-style, I couldn’t resist picking it up and giving it a try!
I also went off on a mental tangent, and researched the origins of Trader Joe’s (which I think is an awesome store). What follows are the results; read them if, like me, you love random trivia. If you don’t, don’t.
So, it turns out that Trader Joe’s is actually German-owned, and it’s kind of an odd story. According to Forbes and Wikipedia, it was bought in 1971 by a member of the same German family that’s behind ALDI; a man that, besides being a supermarket titan, had the terrible misfortune of being kidnapped for 17 days at one point. Also of note, the Trader Joe’s website seems to say nothing about the German connection and, in fact, conspicuously omits the 1971 sale.
Today, per Bloomberg, Trader Joe’s Company is a subsidiary of T.A.C.T. Holding, Inc., which itself is a subsidiary of ALDI Nord GmbH & Co. oHG.
Ok, now back to the beer.
In A Nutshell
Beer: Josephsbrau Hefeweizen
Bottom Line: An essentially tasteless beer (it has an extremely light citrus-y flavor) with decent alcohol content. I don’t think I’ll have it again.
Price: About $1.17 per bottle.
My Rating: 2 out of 5
Origin: San Jose, California
Looks: A dark glass beer bottle with pleasant-but-plain label that basically just says “Josephsbrau Hefeweizen”.
The beer itself is a medium-intensity amber color.
Smell: Light wheat smell.
Taste: The Josephsbrau Hefeweizen is, for the most part, a tasteless beer. If anything, it has an extremely light citrus-y flavor that does not linger, and has no real aftertaste. It comes in, and leaves you with no memory of itself.
This brew has medium-level carbonation and is medium-bodied, and is refreshing and easy to drink just because it’s so lacking in taste. I honestly don’t have much more to say, because there’s nothing there.
The back label suggests you’re supposed to detect citrus, bubble gum (?!?), clove, and banana. Well, they’re either not there (except for the citrus), or my palate isn’t refined enough.
Hangover Factor: Nothing unusual.
If you like beer with little taste but with decent alcohol content and a relatively low price, by all means pick up the Josephsbrau Hefeweizen. For those who like flavor in their beers, though, I’d recommend drinking something else.
Note: This is a series I call Caveman Beer Reviews, because I like to drink beer but am a caveman when it comes to beer knowledge. I know only the basics, and do not have a refined palate. I’ll review the beers on price and what they look, smell, and taste like to me.
Tom @ Dividends Diversify says
Miguel, We like Trader Joe’s too. That said, I have bought beer there a couple times. I find it to be moderately priced, but of average quality. Your review confirms this for me.
I had not had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in many years. I picked up a 12 pack of cans the other day and have really enjoyed it again. I think Pale Ale’s are one of my favorite varieties of beer. Tom
The Rich Miser says
Yup, I think Trader Joe’s is an awesome store, with good quality at a low price. But in terms of its private-label beer, so far my experience has been hit-or-miss. I liked their Drive Thru Red Dry Hopped Red Ale, but hated their Corona-type brew.
I’m glad you liked the Sierra Nevada; I liked it, too!
Mr Defined Sight says
Hello Miguel, thanks for the review! I’m not a fan of the wheat beers for some reason. To confirm, I picked up a six pack of Boulevard Brewing Company Unfiltered Wheat last week. I should have known better but I had a few people say it was worth trying. Just not my thing I guess.
I prefer more of the amber style. And Guinness Draught on occasion.
The Rich Miser says
Hey Mr. DS!
I’m still learning about beer, but am starting to figure out that I prefer IPAs and others with strong flavors. I used to really like wheat brews (Blue Moon?), but have been turning away from them lately.
Nathan Baer says
I would have to disagree as a hefeweizen fan. Obviously the person that rated this beer is not comparing it against other hefs. The color is a light orange, which you cannot see through. If you can see through your hef, it is not good. There is a distinct citrus and clover taste. I wasn’t expecting much at this price, but I was pleasantly surprised. I feel that Black Market Brewery in Temecula, Ca, has the best hef, especially if you get it on tap at the tasting room, but if I couldn’t get that, this would be a great replacement. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting much, but the first sip, I was thinking, “this is a good tasting hef.”
Josh Wheeler says
I don’t even know where to begin. You are sooo far off the mark. By your own admission your palate is unrefined, then why critique something you know so little about? This beer is fantastic! I know hefe’s. And this is the best hefe I’ve had outside of Germany.
Miguel A. Suro says
Thanks Josh, I appreciate your informed opinion. I do go by taste in my reviews, and so I think another perspective is a good thing. In terms of why I do the reviews, I think you can still have an opinion on whether something tastes good, even if you’re not super informed on the subject.