If you have been a follower of mine, you’ll know that Trader Joe’s has a thing for Speculoos Cookie Butter. It’s one of their most popular and sustaining products. An international craze was created around it and at one time, I created a Facebook group that ballooned to over 60k followers, most outside of the USA. It’s died down a bit but it’s still one of the most popular things on this website.
Trader Joe’s didn’t invent Cookie Butter, but they sure made it popular worldwide. My most active pages on this website are still my reviews of Speculoos Cookie butter that I probably wrote 10 years ago. So, it’s no wonder they keep trying to capitalize on a good thing.
This beer has been around since the fall of 2020 but I didn’t snag any back then. Luckily I found a few bottles at my local Trader Joe’s and bought a couple to sample. The beer comes in a 1/2 liter German bottle. If you look at German beers this bottle design is quite common throughout most of Germany. Not sure the purpose of that but I think it’s a nice touch. The label looks exactly like the jar of Speculoos Cookie butter so there is no mistaking what they are trying to do here.
When I poured it into one of my big beer glasses to taste and this is what I wrote down for my notes:
Appearance: The beer pours a slightly hazy, medium orange with a thin white head that dissipates to sparse patches with light lacing.
Aroma: The smell of this beer comes off as a doughy malt, vanilla, coconut, and a little caramel, very much like a butter cookie.
Taste: On the palate, the taste is sweet malt, yeast, butter, coconut, and spicy with some vanilla. Flavor tapers off into the finish which has a moderate, slightly astringent bitterness but leaves light lingering buttery vanilla and coconut. It’s a medium-bodied beer with light to moderate creaminess. If this sounds a bit too over the top in the sweetness department, it isn’t as cloying as I feared. It really does a good job of conjuring butter cookies, with the unfortunate side effect of the (deliberate) butter flavor tasting like diacetyl (buttered popcorn flavor that is considered a flaw in some beers). The early and middle taste was pleasant enough as a cookie-inspired brew, but the mild astringency in the finish unbalanced things a bit. The carbonation was quite low, but that might be just bottle variability.
It’s worth a try if you’re interested in the broad range of pastry items that beer can imitate. Brewers have been throwing cookies and cereal into their beer for decades now and the cookie flavor really comes through. This beer would definitely go well with a holiday meal. Knowing Trader Joe’s I would buy a few of these bottles if you like them because they probably won’t be around very long. This is probably a seasonal thing so you know the drill, stock up if you really like it. Contrary to popular belief, beer does age like wine if stored in the right environment. A beer like this might age nicely for a couple of years. Just be careful with this beer, it’s a whopping 9.5% alcohol. It’s almost like drinking a 1/2 liter of wine.
Overall, it was certainly an interesting beer, and considering the history that Trader Joe’s has with Speculoos Cookies, it was only a matter of time before they put Speculoos Cookie Butter in a beer since they’ve just about put it in everything else from ice cream to candy to yogurt. Get it while it lasts!
If you didn’t know, Trader Joe’s does not own their own winery or brewery and this beer is brewed under contract by Hardywood Park Brewery in Richmond, VA