Trader José Premium Lager | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

49 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Trader José Premium LagerTrader José Premium Lager

Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by goschool on 06-15-2007

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 101
Photo of nickfl
2.12/5  rDev -15.2%
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?

 189 characters

Photo of DerAtomsmasher
2.88/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

 151 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
2.85/5  rDev +14%
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!

 1,091 characters

Photo of Spikester
3.1/5  rDev +24%
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.

 485 characters

Photo of Billolick
2.65/5  rDev +6%
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

 479 characters

Photo of zeff80
2.3/5  rDev -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.

 223 characters

Photo of PhilHeinricke
3.71/5  rDev +48.4%
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.

 611 characters

Photo of puboflyons
2.73/5  rDev +9.2%
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!

 334 characters

Photo of Beric
3.05/5  rDev +22%
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.

 1,497 characters

Photo of HopptimisticThoughts
1.75/5  rDev -30%
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.

 336 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
2.89/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

 912 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
2.5/5  rDev 0%

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.


 338 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
2.74/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

 1,251 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
1.24/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass. Fail to the clear bottle. :(

A: Pours a clear straw color. The head is two fingers high, with a white shade. Retention isn't half bad for a cheap lager, and I can tell from the head that this might be fairly well hopped. There's even some lacing left on the glass.

S: WOAH DAT SKUNK. I'm actually finding some other notes beyond the horrible, horrible skunk - there are touches of malt sweetness and lemony hops. But this is second only to Corona when it comes to badly skunked aroma I've encountered.

T: This is definitely a cheap, crappy lager. Cotton candy and creamed corn to start, cooked veggies to finish. It's littered with lots of off notes like skunk and body odor, too. Yeeesh.

M: Who cares, this sucks.

O: I kind of figured this would be the worst of the 6 - after all, clear bottles. I don't see any of the other 3 being worse than this...this is Corona-levels of bad. Seriously - and this double goes for you big corporate macro-brewers too - stop using clear/green bottles. My liver doesn't have time for this crap, it's getting dumped.

 1,092 characters

Photo of bbluemzbeer
3.38/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This a is beer is pretty good. I blind taste test with pacifico, corona. I pick this beer the least favorite beer of the three but it held its own. For 3.50 for six pack what do you expect a world class beer!

Appreance: Yellow and like a beer

Smell: Like a Corona.

Taste: It a greaat taste for a cheap beer. One hundred times better then, Ice house, Sol or Natty. Nice and sooth with no naste after taste.

Mouthfeel: It was full body witha smooth and wet.
Overall I woould buy this beer again for just price and taste. It does not compare to Corona , pacifico but for half the price what do expect.

 604 characters

Photo of Billylikebeer
3.75/5  rDev +50%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Listen snobs, this beer is a helluva deal - 4.19 for a sixer. Guess what? You ain't getting Chimay for that kind of money. This beer is for ballin on a budget. I just had it for lunch and it was superbly satisfying. And this is one of the few beers not owned by imbev. Stickin it to the monopoly baby!

A: Yellow. I don't drink with my eyes

S: The smell isn't strong enough to offend me. Didn't take a wiff.

T: Giddy up! 10X Better than Natty! Pretty much like Corona.

M: uhhh

O: muy bien. I could buy it again and again. It hits the spot and I'm saving $3 every time I buy a six pack. Mix it up and buy Trader Jose Dark too.

 629 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
2.09/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Meh. Imagine if someone squeezed a whole lemon into a bottle of Corona. To be more accurate, imagine if someone dumped half a container of artificial lemon into a bottle of watered down Corona.

 193 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.71/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Best before 9/18/13.

Pours a clear yellow with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thick streaks of foam form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and some grassy aromas. Taste is mainly of grain and some grassy flavors. There is a very mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty poor beer this is only marginally better than the Light version.

 493 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
2.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: two finger head with decent lacing on a clear golden-straw body.

S: bitter malt/hops and sweet corn.

T: light malts, corn but overall almost tasteless.

M: fuller body than I expected and not aftertaste which is good as many in this genre have off-putting finishing notes.

Overall: Looks good, excellent mouthfeel and easy to drink. Unfortunately it doesn't smell very good and the taste is bland but not offensive.

 422 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz clear glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. The brewer should've known better than to use a clear glass; this is unforgivable. Reviewed live. Expectations are low given the style and the presentation.

Served refrigerator cold. Acquired at Trader Joe's a few hours ago. Best before date 02/21/2013.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of hardly any cream, okay thickness, and average retention. Colour is a clear boring yellow. No yeast particles are visible. Not very inviting. Nothing special or remarkable here.

Sm: Clean malted barley. Hints of cream. Simple, boring, and dull. Not alive or inviting. A mild strength aroma.

T: Clean malted barley. Hints of cream. That's it. Very boring and bland. No layering, complexity, or subtlety. Predictable. Unrefreshing, but pleasant to drink.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Adequately carbonated. Decent thickness.

Dr: Drinkable but boring. There's no reason to get this again. I wouldn't recommend this, even to fans of the style. It's pleasant to drink and better than Corona, but it's still mundane.


 1,152 characters

Photo of GossageBrewery
2.68/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured this lager from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It poured a clear straw color, produced a thick white head, retention was above average and lacing was average. The aroma consisted of malted barley. This beer is light in body, a little more complex then trader jose light, however it still lacks much character. Malted barely, smooth, refreshing. Lawn Mower Beer- not even in the same class as Corona. Overall below average. Prost!

 439 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
2.8/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz. clear Corona style bottle,

A: Pours a clear gold with a fizzy white head. Very good head retention for the style, some lace.

S: Minimal, hint of grass and malt.

T: Minor corn notes with a somewhat earthy hop character. Light in flavour.

M: Light-bodied for sure, fairly crisp. A more substantial feel than a standard macro lager.

O: Really a hoppier (let's keep it relative) version of Corona. Solid in it's style, a summer beer for sure.

 452 characters

Photo of jneiswender
2.46/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

What you see is what you get with this beer. The tastes are very familiar with other Mexican lagers. the exception here is the course nature of the hops. very raspy. The metallic smell and the light and clear body is the same as other beers on the market. While not a first choice, I would have to say that for the style, its okay. I simply don't drink this style.

 364 characters

Photo of Gitspe
3.9/5  rDev +56%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Come on, lighten up beer gourmets. I love a Belgian Dubbel more than anything. But, hey, this is a cheaper version of Corona and it tastes better to me. I totally got the Corona vibe for a lot less money. If anything, it reminded me how overpriced Corona is. I slipped my neighbor one of these and he liked it better than Corona also. I just drank a 6-pack raking leaves and I loved it!

 386 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
2.39/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thank goodness Trader Joe's now let's you buy single bottles, because if they didn't, I may not have tried their version of a Mexican styled lager. Another tick on this warm, clear day. In proper Mexican style lager, I...put the bottle in the freezer until it started to form ice, no lime for me. On to the beer:

Pale golden in color with agood amount of head of head on top. Lacing is decent, forms up in creamy texture. If only the nose were quickly brings my expectations back to reality with some stinky, spicy hops and low amounts of boiled corn. All this gets worse as the beer warms.

Fortunately, the taste is better, but only that. At an ice cold temperature, it's almost like ice water with a little bit of beer character. There's a little bit of sweetness from corn that whispers on the palate. A little spicy hop note, even a sprinkle of esters. Warming up intensifies these notes, but doesn't increase its nastiness too much. Creamy mouthfeel with tocuhes of corn in the aftertaste.

Of the major Mexican brands, I found it most resemblant to Dos Equis. Overall it's decent, and one could choose worse beer.

 1,134 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Trader José Premium Lager from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
2.5 out of 5 based on 101 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.