Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Josephs Brau Summer Brew | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
66 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Josephs Brau Summer BrewJosephs Brau Summer Brew

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

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Zorro on 06-13-2009

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 142
Photo of Dasa1044
1.54/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Trader Joes Summer Brew, which is supposed to be a Koelsch style beer is probably as close to a Koelsch as Cologne is to San Jose, California. Absolutely not worth being called a Koelsch.
I hope that they will re-visit their brewing technique on this one and improve it for next year.

 284 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
1.82/5  rDev -41.1%
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.

 535 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.03/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Kolcsh styles aren't supposed to be heavy or extremely flavorful but I felt that this was far too light even for the a Kolsch style beer. The color was a very clear yellow. Not too much happening in here. The beer is for sure a summer time brew. This wouldn't really fit well in the colder months

 296 characters

Photo of Mitzvahman72
2.11/5  rDev -31.7%
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!

 469 characters

Photo of JunkYardJake
2.36/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.
Poured golden yellow with lager clarity. Small head that falls quickly. Smell is rather unappealing. Like wet dog and cooked vegetables. Taste is also a little strange. An upfront lime flavor that seems out of place with a small grassy hop profile. Flavor and aroma did begin to improve as the brew warmed up. Has a mild dry bitterness in the back end and a slick mouthfeel. Not something I would want another of since I had trouble finishing one. In short, a subpar attempt at a great style.

 529 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
2.45/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

 414 characters

Photo of beertunes
2.45/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

 730 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.46/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

"You can put it on the board...YES!" Definitely in a good mood after home run number two (this one's Carlos Quentin's) makes the score 6-0 ChiSox in the third. Time for a kolsch. This one pours a lightly hazy grapefruit yellow topped by a finger of short-lived white foam. The nose comprises dusty orange, dry wheat, and plenty o' butter. Hm. The taste isn't really more heartening, with notes of funky wheat, sour mandarin orange, and straight dust. A light but still very obvious bitterness gums (not enough tooth to bite) the tongue a bit at the end. The body is a hefty-feeling light, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a sad kolsch, straight up.

 721 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -19.1%
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+

 1,307 characters

Photo of theopholis
2.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Golden & clear with a very fluffy, white 2-finger head. The head has some staying power, but leaves very little lacing. It continually effervesces slowly for quite some time.

Smell: Crisp, clean malt sweetness with a hint of corn.

Taste: A very mediocre malt profile, with more corn than there should be for a Kolsch. None of the traditional earthy herbalness that you expect form a Kolsch.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is light to mid bodied, carbonation is average. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkability : Very sessionable, but Kolschs should be. It's not a great Kolsch.

 586 characters

Photo of Murchmac
2.68/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this at a bbq the other day and was so excited to try this after all the trading hype this beer's been getting.

Looks like a cross between mountain dew and cream soda when it pours out. Very dark for a kolsch.

Smells not like much of anything at all.

Sweeter taste, malt if anything at all.

Too carbonated. Not good, but not horrible. I can't believe people traded a Firestone 10 for this one.

 402 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
2.68/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a honey color with a really thin off white head. The head dies almost completely down very quickly.

S: Honey, a hint of wheat and some overripe fruit (honeydew and orange). As it warms, a bit of yeast come out as well.

T: The carbonation was a bit high for me and the body is a little too heavy for this to be a good summer beer. It's just not refreshing. Some honey upfront followed by a hint of stale hops and maybe a touch of aspirin towards the finish. The middle has some orange in it as well. It's not the worst of the Trader Joes lineup (see Kennebunkport Wheat) but it's not really worth picking up.

 618 characters

Photo of barczar
2.68/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

 583 characters

Photo of Anasazi
2.69/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

 329 characters

Photo of GClarkage
2.79/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

09/09/09- Purchased at Trader Joe's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Darker golden pour..very dark for a kolsch. Head is quick to form a 1/2 inch and quick to fade in an instant. No lacing involved.

Smell- Sweeter than expected. Some light malt and some citrus notes.

Taste- A touch of skunk way in the back. Think I got this one right as it's beginning to turn the corner. Light lemony notes with a lightly bready toasted malt backing.

Mouthfeel- Kinda dry in the finish with an average carbonation level.

Drinkability- Had to try now that my Tj's is selling single bottles rather than whole six packs. Not disappointed, but not impressed...just another beer.

 748 characters

Photo of callmescraps
2.86/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had some lying around.

Appearance - Light gold color. Very clear. Head disappears in moments. No lacing.

Smell - Sweet corn up front. Sort of funky. Pretty bland smelling.

Taste - Pretty mild grain. A little corn/adjunct sort of thing. Very light. Not a ton of anything. A little bread.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation. Nice and light.

Drinkability - Goes down easy. But not interesting enough to be worth drinking much.

This is a pretty bland, inoffensive, but not terribly interesting beer. It's cheap, which is nice.

 523 characters

Photo of Misfit138
2.88/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A- Appearance is a clear golden color with a small head the quickly went away

S- Sweet smell. Similar to a wheat beer, hints of white grape with tart fruit elements also

T- Taste is similar to the smell, Some grain, wheat and a sweet tart finish

M- Fairly light, with dry finish

Overall- It's OK. I didn't know the style it was when I bought it, it just looked nice at the Trader Joes and a summer beer sounded good. I would say it is good for warmer weather, but the style itself isn't one of my favorites. It is very much like a macro-lager, but not as grainy.

 609 characters

Photo of djeucalyptus
2.9/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a apricot gold straw hue with a frothy two-plus-finger head that recedes slowly and takes most of the lacing with it.

aroma is subdued, but bready, grassy, green grapes and a hint of hops.

taste is oddly sweet. grainy, grassy, malt. hint of bread. potent dose of hops, with hefty green herbal notes and a bit of almost metalic citric note. lemon and stale orange.

mouth is fair, ample carbonation, moderate body is a bit slick and sticky for the style. odd and almost unpleasant bitterness.

just plain not good. would definitely not buy again... and I really like good kolschs. but this isn't it. nor is this a good summer brew. it just falls flat and has some odd flavors that are flat out unpleasant. which is too bad. the overall score bump is an evaluation of value... because that's got to count for something. but still... man.

 844 characters

Photo of tapman
2.94/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, orange hue, thin head, very filtered, looks like very little carbonation. No bubble ribbons coming from the bottom of the glass. Usually even thin beers have a ribbon or two.

Wheaty, sweet, pilsner malt, soapy, fruity and floral. Also clean/neat with no off or sulfur-like aromas. Smells refreshing and slightly citrusy. Some banana form the yeast maybe? Almost belgium-ish. Smells good, but weird for the style, especially compared to a Suner kolsch.

Apricots and pastry dough; like drinking a liquid pastry. Sweet and bitter, this one is more like a Blue Moon contender. And while it would contend quite well, off for a kolsch. Actually quite tasty.

Good enough. Not effervescent enough for my taste of a kolsch.

A great tasting beer. Half the price of Blue Moon and just about as tasty.. only problem is that it is not a Belgium Wit, but a Kolsch.

 861 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.96/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear honey orange with a 1 inch puffy off-white head that settles to a thin film. Small spots and broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is somewhat lacking, but what I do get is grains and light fruits. Taste is surprisingly bitter right off the bat with a bready/biscuit flavor and some citrus zest on the finish. The bitterness is somewhat assertive on the palate after each sip. An average mouthfeel with a decent carbonation level and a crisp flavor. Overall, this is a pretty average beer and the bitterness is a bit too much to be a truly enjoyable Summer beer in my opinion.

 613 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.97/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

 436 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.99/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 221 characters

Photo of harrymel
3/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 377 characters

Photo of chumba526
3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A golden color plenty of carbonation.

Smell is sort of generic; it is slightly malty and doesn't have much to it though it does not smell like a potbelly pig in the summer.

The taste is light crisp and refreshing. Doesn't have much flavor though and there is a weaker than normal hop kick from the pilsner not bad though for 4 dollars a six pack.

It is quite drinkable and is smooth enough though the flavor of the malt gets old quickly: I could drink a few of these but probably wouldn't because it is kind of boring beer.

 526 characters

Photo of whatthehull
3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted June 24th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a la Chouffe tulip

A - golden/orange, two finger almost off white head and some lacing

S - sweet, citrus, sweet wheat, yeast, some malt and German and heffe like notes

T - earthy, wheat, yeast, nice bitterness, some citrus, little floral and some grass

M - light, carbonated, low acidity, not much body, well balanced and a medium to long finish

D - drinks like the label says, summer brew. Refreshing for a hot day whilst lounging in the shade

Final thought - 5%+ ABV, $5 a sixer and refreshing, not bad

 565 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Josephs Brau Summer Brew from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.09 out of 5 based on 142 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!