I’ve been meaning to blog about this beer for along time. Trader Joe’s through a brewery in California called Gordon Biersch Brewing Company in San Jose. Gordan Biersch is well known for their German style beers and if you hadn’t noticed all the Josephsbrau beers do have a German style to them and in my opinion, all excellently brewed.
I can’t remember when, maybe 15 years ago or more, Trader Joe’s started hire wineries and breweries to make beer for them under a Trader Joe’s label. I started to see these beer show up at my local Trader Joe’s maybe 5 or six years ago. They are seasonal but there seems to be a couple that stay on all year long. One that only shows up in the summer (unfortunately) is the Trader Joe’s Summer Brew (Kolsch Style Ale).
In a weird quirk of fate, I lived near Cologne (aka Koln) many years ago and drank gallons and gallons of the real thing. I have been quite surprised at how this style has really caught on recently in the craft beer circuit. Many, many breweries seem to be brewing this style and for good reason. It’s light in alcohol, this one is 4.8%, and refreshing when you don’t want to be weighed down by a super hoppy, alcoholic IPA.
I think Gordan Bierch does a very good job with this beer. It’s light, freshing and zesty, just like a real Kolsch should be. Easy to drink when the weather is hot and at $6.49 (or whatever the price is near you depending on taxes) is a great deal considering that most craft beer six packs will set you back $8-10+ these days. In fact, all the Trader Joe’s Josephsbrau beers are a great value in comparison. I plan to review each of them separately over the next few months. I have heard that GB is having financial problems as are many of the old, large craft brewers as more and more people open tiny breweries seemingly on every street corner. So, I’m not sure how long GB will be doing this brewing for Trader Joe’s. It would be sad to see it go away, but it’s probably keeping GB going for a while yet. So, enjoy these (cheap) beers for a while. You know Trader Joe’s, one day it’s there and then one day it’s gone.