Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Night Suds - Joseph's Brau Winterfest

This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at the Joseph's Brau Winterfest Lager.

When I first saw this beer at Trader Joe's, I was struck by the oddly conflicting terms on the label - it calls itself a Winterfest beer and a Dopplebock and a Lager. These seemed to be confusing to me for numerous reasons. I associate Winterfest with Coors Winterfest - one of the first flavored beers I ever tried, yet this beer did not indicate that it was flavored. Also, until I researched the dopplebock style, I was unaware that a double bock was in the lager category. Enter BA, which explains that:

Doppelbocks--as the name might suggest--are typically even stronger and contain enough malty goodness that they’ve been considered a meal in a glass for centuries. Generally they have a very full-bodied flavor and are darker than their little Bock brothers and sisters and a higher level of alcohol too. They range in color from dark amber to nearly black, and dark versions often have slight chocolate or roasted characters.
True to the style, the Winterfest poured a dark amber. The label on the bottle tipped me off that the brew was on the higher end of the alcohol scale for beer at 7.5% abv. But the taste was really quite special - it had the richness of the roasted malt and was quite delicious on its own. I tried to isolate some flavors during my first few sips, but I was unable to get beyond the roasted malt - maybe a little bit of vanilla in the taste.

The Winterfest is also quite a bargain at $5.99 for a six pack, as most Dopplebocks go for almost twice the price. The low price seems to be a hallmark of Trader Joe's which sells its own brews at significantly lower prices than the average comparable beer (Yes, Joseph Brau is one of the multiple lines of beers produced by TJ's). However, don't assume that because its a store brand a TJ beer is lower quality, as I have found that the TJ house brand beers are of superior quality. The only local TJ's which carries this is the one on the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, but its worth trip as this TJ's allows you to buy singles at the same price as 1/6 of a six pack - so maybe this is the new a buck a beer!

Joseph's Brau Winterfest is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit and there is a tiny Va'ad kashrus symbol on the back of the bottle. Please keep in mind that not every Trader Joe's brew is under kosher supervision, so check the label or follow this link for the latest list of beers under kosher supervision.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Joseph's Brau Winterfest, please follow this link

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click here to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!


Mottel said...

The TJ beers are made by other craft breweries and packaged under the TJ label. Their Anniversary Ale, or whatever they call it (it's the one in a 750ml bottle and the cork cap), is made by Unibroue for example.

Neil T said...

I had read that too. Its my understanding that the TJ beers which are under kosher supervision are brewed for them by Gordon Biersch which is also newly under the Va'ad of Detroit.

BTW - the Unibroue brewed beers (whether in their own name or for others) are still not under kosher supervision, despite my efforts at lobbying them to go for the hashgacha.