Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beer Review: Trader Joe's Vintage Ale

Unibroue Brewing Company Trader Joe's 2008 Vintage Dark Ale on Lees

This is a great Christmas present. Doesn't get much better than a dark Belgian Dubble that is bottle conditioned. This is my first taste of a Trader Joe's offering and I am excited. I can't imagine what my 12 year old self would have said if he (I?) was told that a great Christmas present would involve beer. Little would he know that beer would dig its way into my brain and motivate many of the actions that followed. This even comes with a loud pop when you uncork it. What is better for the holidays than that? This ale pours a smooth somewhat dark brown color with a magnificent head. Lacing all around. Aroma is loaded with that distinct Belgian spiciness that only comes from that magical yeast.

Flavor is exactly as I wanted it to be. The yeast offers up most of the flavor. I get lots of banana and spiciness. The rich brown malt provides a sweet balance to the strong yeast presence. While it doesn't have a strong taste, the alcohol is definitely in full force. My buzz will attest to that. If the hops are in there they got punched out. The spice and malt are in prime condition and won't halt for the citrusy green goodness that is the hop.

Rest assured that this beer will not disappoint if you like any Belgian ales. They say it ages well but I will never find out something like that. A bottle this good won't last more than a week. This is a great offering by Trader Joe's (via Unibroue) and I will definitely look forward to more from them. If you see this pick it up. At least cellar it for a special occasion. If I have steered you wrong you know where to throw the coal. Merry Christmas to all!

Final Score: 95% (Deep, Dark, and Spicy. Delicious Dubble Ale.)

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