Trader José Premium Lager
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Trader José Premium LagerTrader José Premium Lager
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Lager - Adjunct
Ranked #327
Ranked #50,543
2.7 | pDev: 25.19%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Trader José Premium LagerTrader José Premium Lager
View: Beers
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 121 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.07/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

the price is right, but let me tell you, you have to drink these ice cold, fast and quick, a lime wedge helps, but you do not want to let this warm up even a little, it totally falls apart. it can pass as a corona type when its freezing, and that is how this must be enjoyed, i get some metallics, some serious adjunct cheapness, and a sort of composting element when it comes up to temperature, not great. despite being cheap in taste, it has some redeeming qualities too, including some body so its not watery feeling, high gushing carbonation, and even a little lager yeast character in the flavor which isnt all that common in this sort of thing. it really does take the lime well, a little acidity brightens it right up and adds some needed freshness and juiciness in the middle of a beer that really doesnt bring much flavor to the table. that said though, for about a dollar each, you can do a lot worse on a hot summer day than a sixer of these bad boys. the trader joes beers remains incredibly hit or miss, but it has been fun to drink through them and discover a couple solid ones. this is middle of the pack, but is definitely not the worst mexican lager on the market...

Jun 03, 2021
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AfricanPete14 from South Africa

2.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very average lager, worse than a Corona by far. Not very crisp, rather flat actually. Smelt of roasted corn and malt. Very sour grains in the taste. Not very enjoyable.

Feb 23, 2021
Photo of jimmah120
jimmah120 from Minnesota

3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2oz from the grocer

Drinking out tha' bottle, a little disappointed because this one is far less tasty than the light version. Not sure why they taste so different.... This one has the grain and corn and alcohol taste dialed up to eleven. But otherwise it's similar. I might actually pick Corona over this one, while their light version blew both Corona's away. At least there is no skunk, and actually a little nip of hops at the end (!)

YMMV, it's okay beer. This one could've used a lime

Jan 21, 2021
Photo of Fernando75

3.09/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Its a corona wanna be. Not as good as corona but very close to it. Feels good to drink out of the bottle. Very good price for the quality. Its definetely underrated

Jan 13, 2020
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

2.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from Trader Joe's Bedford.
Lightly hazy piss yellow in color with a bubbly white head that shows moderate retention. Green apple and skunk with hints of malt and hops. Brings me back to canoe trips on the Merrimack with Jason, just add lime.

Nov 24, 2019
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

3.75/5  rDev +38.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a deep golden color with a mild, crispy white head that fades quickly. SRM of 8. (3.75)

Aroma: Pale and sweet malts upfront. Stronger skunky and grass aromas with bready undertones and peppery hop aroma. Faint lemon citrus. A prominent Munich honey aroma behind it all. (3.75)

Flavor: Initially it's yeasty, peppery, and slightly spicy as it fills the mouth. Flavors of bread spice, grass with a touch of citrus. Again, mild citrus with a stronger than expected grassy and bread spice hop characteristic. It has a pale, but sweet malt backbone. Finishes a bit sweet, but balanced. (3.75)

Feel: Medium-to heavier bodied, and smooth. Decent carbonation. Pretty well rounded. A touch of honeysuckle sweetness lingers on the tongue. (3.75)

Compared to Modelo: Pours an identical color. This one was more oxidized and had more skunk aromas. Also more earthy grass and bread aromas. Less crackery. Less clean. Fuller and sweeter.
4/27/21: Pours identical. More sweet bread and honey. Less cracker and pale malts. Less crisp. Smoother and sweeter.

Compared to Cerveza Pacifico 6/27/20: Very similar. Pours a slightly darker color. Slightly stronger and breadier aromas and flavors.
1/26/21: Very similar. Pours a similar color, slightly darker. Milder aromas. Slightly more honey and less Munich bread aroma. Same on the flavor. Slightly smoother with less yeast. Winner: Pacifico slightly.

Compared to Dos Equis 7/27/20: Pours a similar color. Stronger skunked aromas. More rice malts. Less earthy and bready.
10/30/20: Pours a similar color. More smooth and pale malts. Less pepper spice, bread, and stone.

Compared to Corona 11/23/20: Pours a similar color. Similar pale malts, but more bready and corn. Less cracker. A heavier body, smoother, and sweeter. Winner: Corona
7/13/21: Stronger aromas. More adjunct/corn malts and bread. Less earthy Munich malts. A fuller body and sweeter.

Compared to Peter's Brand 1/8/21: Pours an identical color. More white cracker, white bread, honey. Less Munich malt and German bread spice.

Compared to Molson Canadian Lager 1/18/21: Pours a similar color. More aromas of pale malt and honey. Less bready and yeast.

Compared to Odell's Colorado Lager 2/17/21: Slightly darker. Similarly mild aromas. More yeast and corn mash. Less honey. Fuller-bodied. Overall, quite similar.

Compared to Harp Lager 2/22/21: Similar color. Milder aromas. More pale malt and honey sweetness. Less bread dough and yeast. A smoother body.

to Leinenkugal's Honeyweiss 4/12/21: Pours a lighter color. More bread, grass, and honey on the aroma/flavor. Less wheat, yeast, corn mash and adjuncts. Sweeter, smoother, less carbonation.

Overall: This is actually a pretty good representation of the adjunct lager style. A nice mix of German and American hops here. The hop flavors, carbonation, and mouthfeel are all well-rounded. It does drink a bit sweet. Surprisingly a good job here. (Final Rating: 3.75)
*Compare fresh to any American Lager*

Jul 04, 2019
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

3.54/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium golden amber with a fine, two finger white head with good retention and thick lacing, looks pretty nice. Aroma of light biscuit malt, grassy hops and some skunking; a hint of lemon. Flavor is mild biscuit malt, light grassy hops, skunk and some actual creamed corn in the finish. Light to medium bodied with light, but better than expected, creaminess. Well, I saw this single bottle at TJ's and it being one of the last TJ brews I never reviewed, I picked it up despite the clear bottle. As is typical of adjunct lagers, it tastes light, but perfectly refreshing. The malt and hops are typical of the style. I've hesitated to mention corn in reviews of adjuncts because that flavor might be influenced by what I know about the adjuncts. In this case, however, there is a clear, steamed/creamed corn character in the finish, and it doesn't really detract. Better than I expected, but it is what it is, a cheap knockoff of a Mexican adjunct lager.

Apr 28, 2019
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

2.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.25

Look: Very clear yellow with a ton of bubbles. Huge white foamy head.

Smell: This bottle is pretty badly skunked.

Taste: Beneath the skunkiness, a little corn malt. That's about it. It would be an easy drinker otherwise.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thick and smooth feel with a lot of carbonation.

Overall: Stop selling imports in clear bottles, people!

Nov 22, 2018
Photo of jzlyo
jzlyo from Iowa

2.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Aroma is mild/medium skunk and corn/grains. The flavor is corn/malts, a hint of dark fruit/tobacco, mild sweetness and a smooth/barely there fruit finish.

Apr 26, 2018
Photo of jwc215
jwc215 from Arizona

2.86/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle:

Pours same yellow as seen through the clear bottle.

Smells like grass with some skunk.

Tastes like Corona, though with a little more character. Grassy, somewhat skunky, some honey-like malt.

It is light-bodied.

It is a cheap Mexican knock-off. It could be worse, I guess. Better cheap adjunct lagers out there, if that's what you are looking for.

Apr 04, 2018
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero from California

2.93/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a clear corn yellow. There's a slight musty note on this, but it's clean and not overwhelming. Tastes about what you'd expect not entirely as terrible as I had expected. Like a well done cheap import.

Jan 11, 2018
Photo of nickfl
nickfl from Florida

2.12/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

This is bad, canned corn, a bit of skunk, about what you would expect. Very much like corona, but with a bit better body, perhaps. I suppose that makes it authentic, but what's the point?

Mar 03, 2017
Photo of DerAtomsmasher
DerAtomsmasher from Washington

2.88/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Ah, it's fine for what it is.

I still prefer Corona out of the Mexican lagers I've had. They all serve their purposes. I'm not gonna get mad about it.

Jun 04, 2016
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

2.85/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


Body : A musky golden blonde with 20% opacity giving nice haze to the otherwise typical lager appearance.
Head : This one surprised me. A towering 4 finger display of soap sud-like density and fades slow leaving tons of lace behind. I have to give this one props.

Initial : Like a Corona without the dirty diaper. Dusty corn, chalk, vegetals, dry grass, dry hop.
With Agitation : An oaty sweetness with sweetgrass surfaces.

Front : Pretty much nothing to start, and then it soaks into the palate lifting flavors of dry grass, hop plant, chalk, and paper.
Back : More pleasant malty flavors rest on the finish to prepare for another sip. As it warms a bit the dirty corn/diaper flavors start to surface.

Um, it's a lager. If I want to be descriptive, it's poppy with carbonation and has an utterly smooth creamy finish.

Overall : There's not a whole lot to hate about the Jose' Lager. It's still a rather terrible beer though, I wouldn't buy it again - but I knew that buying a single bottle in the first place. Another one to tick off my list!

Mar 17, 2016
Photo of Spikester
Spikester from Oregon

3.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear yellow gold with less than a finger of head that dissolves to a ring. A few spots of lace.
Smell grain bin malts tiny bit of grassy hops.
Taste is similar to the smell. A mild sweetness with a little bit of grassy hops at the end to balance.
Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated.
Overall Not bad for a beach beer actually. If it was blazing hot out and this was ice cold you could swill these hand over fist. Tastes like most of the beers of this style with no bad attributes.

Oct 05, 2015
Photo of Billolick
Billolick from New York

2.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Part of a $6.99 six pack purchased today at TJ's just south of White Plains, NY

12 oz clear bottle, best before dating etched on the bottle, (072816)

Pours very light iess yellow, clear with bubbles continuing to rise, fluffy off white head, stays pretty well and leaves a thicker film. collar and leaves some low sheeting and decent strands of lacing

nose is of corn

taste is nasty.....sort of like old old corona...pass this one by.. the dark trader Jose's is much better

Oct 02, 2015
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

2/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a straw color with a slight head and lacing
Aroma has slight malt hints
The taste follows the nose with a slight nalt flavor
A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
A decent beer

Sep 24, 2015
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

2.3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A - Poured out a straw yellow color with a white, one-finger head.

S - It smelled of corn and grains.

T - It tasted of caramel, corn and was rather sweet.

M - It was a little thin.

D - This is what it is. A cheap lager.

Sep 20, 2015
Photo of PhilHeinricke
PhilHeinricke from Virginia

3.71/5  rDev +37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


Maybe that's too strong of a word. There's nothing exciting about this beer, and I think perhaps that is why I like it so much. It's not craft beer. It's not experimental beer. It's not trying to be anything but just a decent beer the purpose of which is primarily thirst quenching. You won't find guys in cellars swirling this around and looking at it and smelling it. You won't see anyone drinking this on a sidewalk café crossing their legs and reading meanwhile looking oh so sophisticated. This beer won't be praised by beer snobs.

But it's an ok lager with a look and taste similar to Corona.

Aug 17, 2015
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

2.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 27, 2015 without the lime wedge.

I wish I could write a one sentence review. It would simple be "eh."

Yellow, heady pour. Good clarity.

Aroma of sweet malts, corn, and grass.

Light body.

The taste is also malty and clean. Nothing extraordinary. But it's 80 degrees outside. Hurrah!

Jul 27, 2015
Photo of Beric
Beric from Massachusetts

3.05/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Serving: Bottle with lime (because how else are you supposed to drink these!?)
Served: 7 May 2015

Appearance: Had this one straight from the bottle (how else), which is, incidentally, clear. The beer is a bright yellow color, very much like a Corona, which this beer is obviously trying to emulate. Put a lime in and the whole neck filled with a bright volcano of tiny white bubbles. Nucleation of the lime actually kept some amount of 'head' in the bottle as well.

Smell: Cheap, thin, and corny. Exactly what you'd expect.

Taste: Paired with my enchiladas suizas, this was exactly what I was looking for. A sweet, quaffable beer with a sizable wedge of lime stuck in. The beer had just enough sweet, grainy beer flavor to be relevant, and the lime made it go back easy and provided just the right amount of carbonation to ramp up the subtle burn from the Serrano laded salsa verde.

Mouthfeel: Light body, huge carbonation. Perfect for the style.

Overall: Yes, it's a crappy beer, but it's MEANT to be a crappy beer. With a lime stuck down the neck and paired with some spicy authentic Mexican though, it was the perfect beer. In my opinion, better than Corona- it had slightly more body, shockingly wasn't as skunky despite the clear glass bottle, and, best of all, cost only $6.58/sixer at my local Trader Joes. A high value beer for spicy Mexican food on an abnormally hot day in Boston. Sure as hell beats a shandy. I'll be picking these up for summer quaffing when it's too hot to think.

May 08, 2015
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HopptimisticThoughts from Alabama

1.75/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 1.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.25

It had a semisweet and cereal smell that reminded me of Carib Lager. The taste was slightly hoppy for an adjunct lager with a very sweet finish. Overall not something to go crazy over but I got it for a dollar a bottle so that helps a bit. This is best as a default beer to bring to a game or party if you don't know what else to bring.

Feb 02, 2015
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

2.89/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Trader José Premium Lager
12 oz. clear glass bottle, "BEST BEFORE 092813AFL 10:04" on 4/24/13

I'll say the same exact thing I said about Trader José Light: "Normally I might be bothered by a clear glass bottle, but in this case I think it's appropriate. Clearly they're trying to copy Corona, and thus the bottle needs to look at least a little similar. Additionally, the clear glass bottle adds to the aroma and flavor although I didn't find this at all skunky. (Perhaps they're using pre-isomerized hops? On the other hand, why would they?)"

This is just a basic lager with a large dose of sugar added into the kettle to thin the grainy malt flavor out. It's not particularly offensive, neither is it particularly interesting, hence the usually added slice of lime. For people who enjoy Corona (and why not? - it's more flavorful than lots of other beers), this is an excellent alternative given the price.

Jan 28, 2015
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

2.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Trader Jose’ Premium Lager has a rather thin, white head, a hazy, straw appearance, some bubble streams, and negligible lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet grains. Taste is of some hop spice, sweet grain, and not much else. Mouthfeel is light, and Trader Jose’ Premium Lager finishes dry and easy drinking and dull.


Aug 28, 2014
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

2.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A: Pours a crystal clear pale to medium yellow in color with moderate to heavy amounts of active visible carbonation and some hints of lemon yellow. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy bright white head that reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of sweet malts and grainy malts with a light amount of corn adjuncts. There is also a light amount of grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of sweet and grainy malts with a light to moderate amount of corn adjuncts contributing to the sweetness. There is a light amount of grassy hops flavors towards the finish which contribute a light amount of bitterness which lingers for a short while.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp upfront and slightly creamy in the finish.

O: This is not a great beer by any stretch of the imagination but it is definitely drinkable and went really well with the spicy quesadillas that I made for dinner tonight. Alcohol is well hidden and it easy to drink, but it is just not overly complex. Not as sweet as some of the other examples in the style.

Jul 19, 2014
Trader José Premium Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 65 out of 100 with 121 ratings