Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Finally Here...Trader Joe's 2010 Vintage Ale Review

I had never heard of / tried Trader Joe's Vintage Ale until Rich told me about it a couple of weeks ago. It's an ale brewed by Canada's Unibroue (who makes some of my favorite beers including Trois Pistoles and Fin Du Monde), exclusively for Trader Joe's. It's only released once a year and each store is only allotted maybe a dozen cases, so it usually sells out pretty quickly. As I've proven, I'm a sucker for anything limited edition at (relatively) bargain prices, so I was immediately intrigued and have been stalking every Trader Joe's store that I visit (pretty much everyday) to see if the 2010 Vintage Ale had been released yet. Yesterday, I was finally told at the West LA Trader Joe's on Olympic that the cases were due to arrive today at the Los Angeles area stores. On my way home from Equinox, I called the Santa Monica Trader Joe's store on Pico and confirmed that the cases were in and on the shelves. I immediately drove to the Santa Monica Trader Joe's, braving the Thanksgiving crowds and awful parking lot, and picked up a case; each 750 ml bottle priced at $4.99. I was extremely tempted to open a bottle to go with my lunch, but decided to wait until dinner so that others could have a taste as well.

We opened the bottle tonight with dinner and served it at the suggested temperature, ~ 50 degrees.  I thought it was really good...I'm really not a beer expert and especially not a dark ale expert, but I enjoyed it.  It was very dark with a good amount of head, a nice nose with caramel-y notes, and smooth and rich taste with some faint spice and pumpkin flavors.  Finish is a bit short, without any bitterness or other lingering flavors.  It's very easy to drink and rather refreshing for such a dark looking beer; it's quite food friendly.  At $4.99, I think it's a good deal and am happy we have more bottles to drink.  The cork is rather difficult to remove; I recommend using a waiter's corkscrew.

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