Drive Thru Red
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Drive Thru RedDrive Thru Red
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #1,062
Ranked #47,623
3.4 | pDev: 18.82%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Drive Thru RedDrive Thru Red
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 103 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of spectru
spectru from Florida

3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2/13/21 - Clear copper, cream colored head recedes to bubbly cap, somewhat lacy; Crisp clean aroma; Mouthfeel: nice carbonation; Slightly bitter with a hint of sour. Not bad, not great.

Feb 14, 2021
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass
Appearance – The beer pours a clear reddish tinted amber color with a one finger head of yellowish off-white foam. The head has a light level of retention, fading to leave a small amount of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is strongest of a bready and caramel malt smell mixed with a bit of citrus and herbal hop. Along with these smells comes a little bit of grain and a tiny touch of a medicinal smell, producing a oddly enough, very inviting aroma.
Taste – The taste begins with a heavy bready and doughy taste that is backed with lots of caramel and a touch of fruit sweetness, with some light tangerine, orange, papaya. There is a lighter hop presence upfront, with both some grapefruit and herbal hop tastes being present. As the taste advances some other light hop tastes of pine and earth come to the tongue, with the grapefruit hop fading away. With a touch of graininess that comes at the end, one is left with a rather malt heavy and lightly dank hopped taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is thicker and more chewy for a 7.2 % brew with a carbonation level that was average. Overall, the feel was decent, with the thickness helping to accentuate the somewhat more subdued hop tastes of the brew.
Overall – An alright red ale. Not a hop powerhouse for sure, but malty and smooth, with an easy drinking feel.

Nov 30, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Copper color, good head, retention. Smell is caramel, sweet, floral herbal hops, ,'dry leaves' flavor aplenty, but it doesn't take away from the flavor. Well carbonated, alcohol isn't a factor

Big bang

Aug 26, 2020
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chitoryu12 from Florida

3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look: Clear dark amber, the color of a sunset, with rising carbonation bubbles from the center of the snifter. One finger of slightly off-white head with decent retention.

Smell: Pine, citrus, earthy hops. Sweet malt at the back.

Taste: Generally sweet caramel malt, with a light citrusy hop flavor and very mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full and smooth, with average carbonation. No real alcohol flavor is perceptible.

Overall: A perfectly decent beer that tastes smoother than the ABV would suggest.

Aug 18, 2020
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puck1225 from Texas

4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pleasant, nicely malty beer picked up on a whim during a recent trip to Trader Joe’s.

Pours a beautiful reddish orange color with nice head and good lacing. Sweet malty smell and taste. Agreeable earthiness and bitterness. Rich, smooth feel. Definitely something I would buy again.

Aug 03, 2020
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NeilSilber1 from California

3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Red meets IPA. Pours copper red with light fading white cap. Malty sweet backbone with (42) IBU crunch and dry bitter aftertaste. An okay heavy IBV at 7.2% Trader Joe bargain brew.

Jun 25, 2020
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scootny from New York

4.42/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a beer that delivers excellence through simplicity. A deep reddish amber that is clear and bright. A thick sticky head, off white eggshell, that leaves lots of lace and covers the brew after a slow fade continuously as I drink.

Nose delivers toasted malts in abundance. Whole grain breads follow with gentle caramel sweetness. Earthy Tettnang hops bring up the rear with a lightly spicy bite.

Lovely taste. Just really dig this. I am a big fan of the classic beer formula that allows the malt to make a statement. This does that very well. There is a generous malt front that brings toasted grains, whole grain breads and a touch of biscuit. A current of toffee flowing into caramel and then those noble hops. Earthy with a touch of bite, they really complete this beer in a way that stands in two traditions. One is an English custom of malt forward beers with milder Fuggles type hops. The other is the American hop forward citrus bombs. While there is no citrus to be found here, the clean yeast that offers none of the characteristic English fruitiness is decidedly American as is the more hop forward content. It's just the way in which the hops are done that allow for a healthy dosing, while allowing the malt to shine and speak by dry hopping with the Tettnang, is a brilliant touch. That being said, there is a touch of yeast fruitiness that once again sits between the two traditions. Clean and dry finish with a light happiness. No trace of the alcohol.

Great feel. Smooth crisp and lightly creamy. Medium body that promotes easy drinking and long and happy conversations over many glasses. Thirst quenching and delicious.

This is a great beer that delivers simple sophistication, a delicious malt profile and at the same time a different take on presenting more hops. English pub brew meets American session ale. It It will go well with the grill, seafood and of course cheese and the usual pub fare. Cheese burgers and hot dogs anyone? A great 4th of July brew. It also ups the abv at 7.2 percent. All this for 7 bucks? I'm buying out store. Well done TJ's Love it!

May 17, 2020
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irs from New Jersey

3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Brownish red not much foam.
Nothing special about the nose. It kind of smells like cheap beer. Its not setting expectations high.
I guess that's the way it tastes, too. Mild sweetness and a dark fruit flavor with some hop bitterness about halfway through.
Mouthfeel is about right in the middle.
I guess you get what you pay for.

Feb 04, 2020
Photo of hophead723
hophead723 from California

4.42/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I can already tell before I review this that almost everyone that has reviewed this beer so far is highly unintelligent and has no idea what they are drinking. Based on the hop and malt bill of this beer, it is guaranteed to be good. It is dry-hopped exclusively with Tettenang hops. Poured into my Samuel Smith British Pub Glass.

Look: Perfectly clear, beautiful deep red amber. The head is two fingers thick and the color of aged parchment. Carbonation clings to the bottom of my laser-etched nucleation site glass, with lazy bubbles floating lugubriously to the top. The sticky lace is dragged down the glass, with an extremely stubborn thick film that prevails until the very last gulp.

Smell: A superb exhibition of Tettnang hops with an earthy and herbal hop profile working its way through the hearty malt backdrop of toasted bread and honey-covered biscuit. The hops' earthiness rides alongside the roasted caramel malt character.

Taste/Feel: The sweetness of the malt is exquisitely complemented and balanced by the spicy characteristics of the hops. Prominent breadiness throughout, with Challah and pumpernickel crust. The finish allows the noble hops to shine, with a pleasant prickly bitterness characteristic of Tettnang hops, among a few other Noble varieties and leaves a lip-smacking lingering malty flavor with a dry finish. Alongside these earthy and spicy flavors, a subtle undertone of walnut, grain, and fig fruitiness is present.

Overall: The toasty biscuit malt has a lovely dry finish, with the medium body carrying the rich malt character across the palate with excellent momentum. I give it a 5 overall because of the price. When all of the delicious attributes of this beer are considered, the price makes this excellent!

Jan 19, 2020
Photo of burnerfinger
burnerfinger from Texas

4.53/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

night before Christmas eve, what a night for a mighty fine brew:

16 oz bottle in my Sam Smith pilsner glass:

A nice thick off-white head, less than a full finger super clear, deep red or even orange brew

smell: nice hoppiness - but more than a bit understated.

T super big flavor profile: mostly honey or maple

M HEAVY body, a real "thickness" to it

Drinkability: lets get sloppy, shall we?

Dec 24, 2019
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Trader Joe's Bedford
Dark amber red in color with a decent sized off white head that persists. Caramel and a hint of chocolate and smoke with some earthy citrus to counter. Clean well made, welcome to craft beer in 1997.

Nov 24, 2019
Photo of Donovanj
Donovanj from Georgia

3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am very confused on the bad reviews of this beer. There must have been a bad batch or something because this is an awesome, albeit unusual red ale (especially for the price). Also considering that red ales are not that common anymore even at TJ's.

Its higher grav than your typical red ale at 7.2%. It is full bodied with a thick head. Starts malty with a mildly hoppy finish.

It is typical of the style? No, not at all. Do I like it, yes, yes I do!

Sep 17, 2019
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into Batch 19 glass.

Body is the shade of a copper penny and has a tall fluffy hoppy head of 2 fingers. Recedes to 1/2 finger leaving creamy lace behind.

I could smell this beer as soon as I popped the cap. Lots of fresh wet hops hit the nose right off the bat, with a ton of earthy tea notes, slight caramel, slight chocolate, some vegetable, and toast.

Tons of sweet toffee, warm pumpernickel bread, caramel, tea, apples, prune, and a nip of vegetal/wet hops. It does grow a little tiring/sweet on the palate after a few sips, and as it sits for even a couple minutes it loses carbonation and starts to sag a lot. I do get that "tomato soup" flavor after a little bit, so drink it fast after you pour it.

Feel is creamy/carbonated/resiny in that order. Starches remain on the palate.

Overall a decent beer if you can finish it ice cold. 7.5% is the perfect ABV for an imperial red ale, imo, no more no less. Pretty decent. Try it at least once.

Jun 13, 2019
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with an expiration date of 10/19/19. Sampled on May 26, 2019.

It pours a handsome looking reddish-amber color with a lasting soft, tan head. Limited lacing.

I pick up a nice toffee and sweet malt presence along with a fruit presence akin to apple or pear. Maybe a slight ash note. Low to no hop profile.

Medium, smooth body.

The sweet malts abound in the taste with a vague meaty fruit character to top it off. Mild finish. Not bad.

May 26, 2019
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paging12 from Virginia

3.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Lighter amber, pushing towards a darker German style beer.
S: Resiny. Hop forward.
T: More like a hoppy IPA more than anything. Resiny, West-coast style.
M: Soft, but full bodied with an alcoholic lacing.
O: Disappointed. Didn't taste like and amber or red ale. More like one-note IPA.

Mar 22, 2019
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into 14oz teku. Look, this is just a nice pleasant, budget beer. A very nice, clean, clear color. A soft malt scent, with some musty/stale hops. same on the tongue. smooth, even body with a semi-sweet finish. OK drinkability. Overall, if you want a a decentish brew to take to a cookout, camping, tailgate, etc, this is better than BMCs.

Jan 11, 2019
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Schlitz74 from Illinois

3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a dark amber color with a nice off white head. There was some lacing left on the glass. This was an ok beer for the style. Traders Joes beer tend to be good on price per single, but the taste is not alway that great.

Oct 22, 2018
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Lfacuna from California

1.75/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Terrible disappointment. It’s red, but tastes like garbage. I love beer and this one is so dank. Terrible disappointment. Tastes like molding produce. Yuck. Packaging is the best thing about it. Omg, yuck.

Sep 12, 2018
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Can_if_you_can from Minnesota

1.86/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

My bottle is “good” until 9/19/18, today it 6/1/18. Taste like soupy ketchup or bad tomato soup. No “dry hop” aromas or flavors....blech! Drainpour. Sorry Trader Joes i should have just bought the Hefe!

Jun 02, 2018
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rclangk from West Virginia

3.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

4/2018 Trader Joe’s - Mount Pleasant, SC

Regarding Ahypercube’s review of 2/3/2018: Yours is the cleverest and most humorous review I’ve ever read on Bear Advocate. I did not have the same experience and figure you must have somehow gotten a bad bottle or 6 pack. Thanks for the review though, it’s a gem.

Apr 10, 2018
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Tone from Missouri

3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of fresh pale malt, nut, hint of sweet malt, hint of piney hops, and yeast. Fits the style of an American Amber/Red Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of fresh pale malt, nut, hint of sweet malt, hint of piney hops, hint of roasted malt, and yeast. Overall, good appearance and feel, nice fresh malt aroma, but otherwise average.

Mar 21, 2018
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Ahypercube from California

1.8/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

I haven't reviewed many bad beers. I want to do this one, because it needs to be clear to others, and there are not many reviews here. First of all, this is dead. I guarantee that live yeast does not reside in these bottles. Secondly, assuming that the 7/14/18 consume by date is 180 days from bottling, this is fresh, and it's already trash. I cant imagine what it will taste like in July.

L: Lovely bottle art. Comforting "dry-hopped" promise. I so wanted this to be good. Poured with very little beige foam on top and a colorful beet red tint to the completely transparent body. Head has no staying power.

S: Artificial raspberry and grape jumps out and starts yelling in your face while a large animate fig newton awkwardly chucks rotting apples into a bucket of really stale bread crusts soaked in mineral water nearby.

T: Exactly like the smell, but in your mouth. The first beer that I have actually found disgusting in a while. Tastes liked malt liquor with a splash of ocean spray cran-grape drink... with added raspberry flavor. Finish is similar to overcooked carrot with some white wine funk.

F: Meh. Hard to give a shit about a decent texture when it leaves that oxidized carrot and rotten fruit aftertaste in your mouth...

O: Trader Joe's makes great salsa, salads, pot pies, baked goods, smoked salmon, hummus, and nut butters. But damn do they have trouble getting a beer right. What little flavor the malt has does remind me somewhat of a Speyside 10-year Single Malt I bought from them a while ago, but that was not nearly as awful as this. Discount beer fails once again...

Feb 04, 2018
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mactrail from Washington

3.72/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wonder if this is a Gordon Biersch product like their German-style beers. It tastes like a big Marzen. Or the golden Bock with a dose of Crystal malt and roasted barley.

Strikingly handsome coppery dark color with a fine-grained and long-lasting foam in the tall Petrus goblet. Aroma is quite robust with a little citrus and cereal. Flavor is malty and rather sweet.

Overall this is a little on the bitter side, like any red-blooded red. I find it rather interesting for the style but it does have that sweet 'n' bitter taste I'm not so crazy about.

Jan 01, 2018
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a BB date of 29 April 2018.
Pours with a lovely red-copper body that has excellent clarity and is topped by a fine bone colored head.
Nice malt forward aroma.
Enough hops to add some spice to flavor and to make this mildly bitter.
Medium body and carbonation.

Dec 25, 2017
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golfrattt from California

1.12/5  rDev -67.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is easily the worst red ale I've ever had. Has a tart taste and a bad aftertaste. And at first i was surprised that it wasn't a TJ beer b/c of the bad taste, as i couldn't find it on the label, yet turned out it was.. and i wasn't surprised..

Shouldn't be a surprise, however. Every beer TJ's has offered under their brand is horrible. Every single one.

Their Belgian Style Ale is the worst Belgian you'll ever have, their double ipa (now in a red can) tastes like fuel, as do their 2 choices in a can... all B A D. bad

Dec 24, 2017
Drive Thru Red from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 103 ratings