image from beerlabels.com
I had originally intended on putting this as my Summer Beer #3 review, but have reconsidered because I think this beer is available year-round. My wife and I love shopping at Trader Joe's, it is just a great all around grocer with quality food at great prices. Several years ago they had, what I considered to be, the best beer selection in town. Now, however, they seem to have lost their interested in beer and it seems like their shelf space for beer is smaller and their variety a bit less interesting that I remember. That said, a about a year and a half ago they started carrying their own brand of beer, contract brewed in large part by Gordon Biersch. These beers are great values - usually 4.99 a six pack (and you can buy singles of any sixer they have) and each beer full of flavor and aroma.
In the heat of Summer my love of all things hoppy subsides a bit and is replaced with a love of all things tart or sour. Now, I can't afford to drink lambic every night, sad to say, but I have found a well made hefe hits the spot. So, when I was picking up my week's worth of groceries on Sunday I picked up a six pack of the TJ's Hefe - my first time trying the beer - and I am happy I did.
Aroma: mild overall, with some clove spice peeking through. No hops, low malt. Clean to be sure and pleasant overall, just subdued when compared to some Bavarian samples.
Appearance: Golden color with a with fluffy head that has great retention. Slightly hazy, but not as much as other examples of the style.
Taste: Very thirst quenching, wonderful really. Slight tartness from the wheat with hints of citrus, clove and mild banana in the aftertaste. Hops are moderate, with a peppery characteristic and just enough bitterness to balance the biscuity sweetness. Finishes slightly dry with a lingering mild bittering that refreshes the palate.
Body: Medium bodied beer with low alcohol warmth and moderate carbonation. Again, a wonderful thirst quenching beer for hot summer days.
Overall: A great American made Hefeweizen, with more going on than some more widely distributed examples, but with less character overall than some of my favorite German versions (Hopf). Great for Summer days and clearly a drink designed to enjoy throughout the day. Yeah, I can have several of these without blinking an eye, meaning it must be good.