Josephs Brau Summer Brew
Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Josephs Brau Summer BrewJosephs Brau Summer Brew
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Ranked #462
Ranked #49,074
3.15 | pDev: 15.24%
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States
Josephs Brau Summer BrewJosephs Brau Summer Brew
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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 158 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero from California

4.12/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Say what you will, but this looks incredible. Crystalline clear with a creamy cap of foam. Honeyed sweet notes in the nose, with a creamy crisp and somewhat sweet taste on the palate. All things considered not bad at all.

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

3.23/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, light to medium golden color, bubbling, with a mild sticky head. SRM of 7 (3.75)

Aroma: Very mild aromas of rubber. A touch of astringent cereal malt. A faint grape note. (3.25)

Taste: Also restrained on the flavor. Some rubber notes again upfront. Some faint cracker and vague fruit in the middle before a watery finish. Nearly nothing here. (3.25)

Feel: Light bodied. Mild carbonation. Feels clean, but watery on the palate. (3.25)

Compared to Josephsbrau Czech Pilsner 5/3/20: Pours a lighter color. Milder aroma and flavor. Less citrus, less bread, less body, less sweetness. Just less overall. Winner: Czech Pilsner

Compared to Harp Lager 5/7/20: Pours a lighter color. More rubber and grape. Less sweet bread and citrus. Slightly more bitter and dry. Maybe more of a plastic-type citrus quality. Nearly identical.

Compared to Peter's Brand 6/2/20: Pours a similar color. More rubber and grape. Less bread. Sweeter and breadier, but also more carbonation. Winner: Peter's Brand

Compared to Schell's Fort Road Kolsch 6/6/20: Pours a darker color. Stronger plastic grape. Less carbonation.

Compared to Josephsbrau Czech Pils 7/22/20: Pours a slightly lighter color. More bread on the aroma and flavor. Less sour fruit sweetness. More full and bready.

Compared to Orangeboom 10/7/20: Pours a similar color. More tart orchardfruit, rubber. Less bread and smoothness.

Overall: I'm not sure what Summer Brew means, but if this is supposed to be a Kolsch, I can tell you that it is not. The aromas and flavors are attenuated here and it's really hard to discern any aroma or flavor. A bit of rubber though if you're into that. Then it finishes watery and disappointing. (Final Rating: 3.23)
*Compare next to Harp Lager or another bad Kolsch*

May 03, 2020
Photo of Nvrmind16
Nvrmind16 from California

3.64/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a kolsch style ale, with a very hoppy feel. Easy to drink and priced to sell, I can't argue with this beer as a casual drink. It's only when you compare it to other Kolsch that it loses some appeal.

Jul 24, 2019
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Spikester from Oregon

4.02/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold with three fingers of egg shell head. Rings and swathes of lace appear as the head slowly drops.
Smell is pungent noble hops some bread crust malts.
Taste is noble hops with proper amount of malts.
Mouthfeel is light to medium with fine carbonation. Finish is dry and mildly bitter.
Overall a fine Kolsch style ale. Best before 10/05/19.

Jun 15, 2019
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hopphead31415 from Virginia

3.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Look-This 4.8% Kolsch pours a clear gold with a white foamy head.

Smell-It smells like cracked grain husk warmed by the sun, steel cut oatmeal, and stone milled grains.

Taste-The taste is malt-forward with low carbonation and a crisp, light-bodied mouthfeel.

Overall-It is a refreshing brew, good for the summer, but it doesn’t have much versatility. It isn’t a craft brew either, but it is OK.

Jul 11, 2016
Photo of Mitzvahman72
Mitzvahman72 from California

2.11/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.75

With a straight straw color, it has a nice biscuity taste, but very bitter in terms of the grassy pinecone. It lacks the personality of a good kölsch and is really not a good example of the kölsch-style beer. There are other better alternatives out there. I think Goose Island’s Summertime, if it’s still brewing, is a good example, but there are others out there. Overall, thank G-d that Trader Joe’s allows you to try ONE bottle instead of a 6-pack at a time!

Jun 06, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.99/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yellow beer, inch of head gets destroyed instantly. Smells standard kolsch yeast.

Taste is a mild trip. Light, lemony, bitter. Pretty standard stuff in the kolsch realm, discernable not obtrusive. Walk in the park.

Dec 26, 2015
Photo of SitkaSteve
SitkaSteve from Idaho

1.82/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.75

This was poured into a stange.
The appearance was golden in color with a quick little rapidly dissipating foamy to bubbly white head. There was no lacing.
The smell, was kinda medicinal with light sweet lemon tones.
The taste was basically the same as the smell with a long sweet medicinal lemon flavored aftertaste and super sweet finish.
The mouthfeel was super light and sugary running over my tongue.
Overall, this was a kolsch? Uh...if I wanted a good one by an American brewer, I'll stick with Alaskan's or Schlafly's. No thanks.

Aug 03, 2015
Photo of UPMD_Bill
UPMD_Bill from Maryland

3.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I like the kolsch style in general for the summer season, and this one is another great value from TJ's. Only the second Kolsch I rated and I think I liked Lancaster's better but I can't quite articulate why. But this has all the right elements. A little floral/spice character, clean, light and refreshing.

On second tasting, I think the Josephs Brau has a bit of a sour / medicinal finish - more pronounced in some bottles than others. (All were fresh though.)

Jul 21, 2015
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Josephsbrau Summer Brew
12 oz. brown glass bottle, "BEST CONSUMED BEFORE: 10/19/15"
$1.17 @ Trader Joe's #766, Tampa, FL

Brewed in the Köln style, Josephsbrau Summer Brew is golden in color, medium in bodied, gently malty and floral and spicy.

It's slightly hazy in the glass, which is unusual, but OK; and it's frothy white head displays a fairly good retention and better than average lacing.

Floral notes greet you in the nose over a straightforward, delicately grainy malt. A subtle note of apple fills in alongside, and some spicy hops float in the background. It's clean, pleasant, and welcoming.

The malt and hop combine well in the flavor, exhibiting themselves clearly, but also melding together almost seamlessly, polished to a shine by the delicate fruitiness that thinly coats it. A stiff bitterness balances it, and in combination with the spicy hops it finishes dry and refreshing.

All in all it's a fairly good rendition of the style, and given the price it's hard to beat.

Jul 05, 2015
Photo of DerekP
DerekP from Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This style is probably one of the tougher ones to review: lighter style, easy to find flaws, etc. How do you judge the look? There's some decent head retention, and looks like it should (yellow/gold).

It smells biscuity, a little sweet, and floral. The taste is the most flawed area overall, but still enjoyable; there just happens to be an astringent back-end that stands out sometimes.
Mouthfeel is light-medium.

Worth the $6.49-99 that I paid for it without regret!

Jul 02, 2015
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear pale to medium yellow in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass as well as some faint straw yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy bright white head that reduces to a large patch of thin film surrounded by a very thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to heavy amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of bready and grainy malts with a very light amount of grassy hops aromas towards the finish.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of bready and grainy malts with just a very light hint of sweetness. That is followed by light amounts of grassy hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for too long.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: A fairly average example of the kölsch style but easy to drink and somewhat enjoyable. A nice beer for the summer, especially considering the price.

Aug 07, 2014
Photo of Anasazi
Anasazi from Washington

2.69/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Nothing special. Average beer and I wouldn't pay more than the $6 Trader Joe's sells it at. A cut above budweiser and the Miller brands of swill.
Not much head or foam. Nice golden color. The taste was slightly bitter at the end almost metal like. Not much on any aroma or smell capacity as far as hops. Average sums it up best.

Jul 04, 2014
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.88/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

JosephsBrau Summer Brew has a thick, off-white head, a clear, bubbly, golden appearance, and heavy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is odd- sweet, cream cheese and ironized soil. Taste is of sweet toffee, cream, light lemon zest, and a prominent, floral hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is heavy-medium, and JosephsBrau Summer Brew finishes semi-wet and highly drinkable. Overall, this is very interesting and delicious, although with its complexity and body, it doesn’t really seem to fit as a Summer beer. A must-try beer, though.


Jun 26, 2014
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

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

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a light golden amber with a thin white head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass. Aroma of neutral malt, wheat and slight citrus sourness. Flavor is slightly tart bready malt, citrus and light wheat, finishing with wheat and grassy hop bitterness. Light bodied. A light, refreshing, but unremarkable summer beer. Light and low malt for a kolsch, but the light color and flavors are within the kolsch universe. A bit astringent in the finish, but pleasant and drinkable for a light summer beer, as advertised.

Aug 02, 2013
Photo of TheMarkE
TheMarkE from California

3.27/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Bright straw yellow with a moderate head and lacing.

Smell: Grains.

Taste: Crackers, cereal grains, yeast. Slightly sweet, hints of floral hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, crisp and creamy. The barest hint of aftertaste.

The Verdict: Average. Trader Joe's take on a Kolsch is a bit bland overall. Goes down smooth, so it would make for an acceptable Saturday afternoon next to the pool beer.

Jun 20, 2013
Photo of barczar
barczar from Kentucky

2.68/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aggressive pour yields a clear golden beer with a frothy one inch egg white had that dissipates slowly, leaving sheets of lacing.

Kolsch yeast, cracker-like malt, and a touch of grassy hops form the aroma.

Herbal hops are evident in the first sip, with a bit of skunky character and a crackery, dry finish, which becomes fairly bitter. There's a metallic flavor underlying the profile that us offputting.

Body is a tad watery, with moderate carbonation and an astringent finish.

The metallic flavor detracts from the experience. More bitter than anticipated. Astringency lingers.

Jan 02, 2013
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.5/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Best before 11/07/12. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average. Kolsch style. 4.8% ABV.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger beige colour head of no real cream, merely okay thickness, and flat out bad retention (<20 seconds). Lacing is nonexistent. Colour is a clear pale yellow-copper. Not particularly inviting. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Straw, poorly chosen malts, off barley, and indistinct background hops (floral only in character). Meh. An average strength aroma.

T: Clean malts, some cream up front, floral hops, and clean barley. Not particularly full-bodied. Balance is messy at best. Somewhat thrown together, but still palatable all around. Its simplicity holds it back.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Entirely too think and heavy on the palate for the style. It's meant to be light and refreshing. Carbonation is adequate.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable, even for the price. Trader Joe's contracts far better brews in the same price range. There's really no reason to get this again. Dreadfully boring.

High D+

Aug 01, 2012
Photo of harrymel
harrymel from Washington

3/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best by 07NOV12

Pours a golden yellow with a slight orange hue; topped with dissipating white foam and has excellent clarity. Nice floral and straw nose here with a good dose of grass and corn. Nice slight bitterness up front with some grain and corn with a sweetness about it - a little dry. Light bodied with moderate carb and wet finish. Average beer I'd share with people.

Jul 25, 2012
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher from Illinois

2.45/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Very clear dark golden color. White foamy head of two fingers settled to a clingy filmy ring.
Smells of grainy malts with a little dry mustiness that reminds me of sourmashing techniques. A bit of a lemony flavor pokes through, but it isn't quite enough to save this one for me. The dry musty notes and the grainy malts really run the show, and it is too much. I like my Kolsch a little more light and refreshing.

Jul 11, 2012
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BucannonXC5 from California

3.3/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My house on July 8, 2012. Bottle into pint glass. One-to-two fingers of head. Light pale straw color, a bit darker than the Plznr. Grayish white lacing with average retention.

Smelled light notes of lemon grass, wheat, corn, banana and bread.

Tasted similar to the nose with a tad more bitterness. Reminded me of the Plznr that I just tried. Got corn, wheat, lemon, honey, banana and bread. Bitterer finish, a bit surprising for a name of SummerBrew. A little bit of sweet caramel in there as well.

Light body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Long lasting smooth finish.

Maybe a bit better than the normal summer beer, although this was slightly different. Very, very similar to the Plznr.

Jul 10, 2012
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

2.45/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 9oz pilsener glass. Poured a light-medium straw color with less than a half-inch of white head that instantly dissipated and left very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly neutral, the beer had almost no aroma at all. There was some sweetness and just the faintest hint of grain. The flavors were also neutral, almost to the point of not existing, a little bit of caramel and an odd funk (maybe from the yeast?) were the noticeable aspects.

The body was a bit too full for the style and was also sticky. Drinkability was OK, you could drink a couple at a cook-out, or any situation where you're not focused on the beer. Overall, an OK brew, neither terrible or great. You can do worse, and better, for a bargain sixer.

Jul 06, 2012
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85 from Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Label says best by 10/29/12.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear golden straw yellow with lots of rising bubbles. Big four finger white head with good retention. Leaves lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A fairly sweet and bready aroma. Pale malts, wheat cereal grains, and lots of yeast. Hints of biscuit and crackers. Light hints of citrus lemon and orange. Also some subtle floral hops lingering. Malts are quite noticeable although the citrus is subdued for the style.

Taste: Bready, yeasty, and fairly sweet. Lots of pale malts and cereal grains with yeast. Some notes of cracker and biscuit. Subtle hints of banana, citrus lemon, and orange. Very light floral hops in the background. The bready elements are the most noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, creamy, and very smooth.

Overall: A decent take on a Kolsch. Nice malt elements. Could of used some more citrus zest.

Jun 26, 2012
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

2.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yellow, white head, 1" deep, lots of bubbles and carbonation, not really good clarity or vibrance to the whole thing. Smelled like it was a geniune kolsch, if unadventurous at that, but it wasn't standard bmc lager yeast either.

Mild undercurrent of corn, wondered if this was the trader jose with lemon. Bitter and metallic wheat character at times. You get what you pay for, at least this comes in at a decent price. No off flavors.

Feb 05, 2012
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light yellow in color with a nice head of white on top that faded gently into a thin veil that left the top bare after just a few minutes. Light bready notes and some grains in the smell, a bit light for me, without that top notch banana aroma you would see in a really good version of the style. Smooth mellow flavor, albeit light. Even and well balaned with a light bready note and a touch of light grassy notes towards the end. Smooth and easy drinking as this one went down effortlessly into the night

Dec 04, 2011
Josephs Brau Summer Brew from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 74 out of 100 with 158 ratings