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Josephs Brau Summer Brew | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 142
Photo of mactrail
3.56/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I guess this could be called a Kölsch, given the way the neighborhood is going. A bitter edge to it, rather thin as expected. Not much fragrance, which would seem to be essential in this fragile style. Lovely mouthfeel with good carbonation. Pleasantly quaffable but a total lack of any malt character, which may be in keeping with the style. Still it's a better choice than most of the anemic lagers and certainly a bargain if you're looking for a light beer and have a Trader Joe's handy.

Best by date is 1-22-12. New and rather attractive label.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is a very average beer. The aroma is pleasant having strong malty tones with some fruity esters from the hops. There is a lot of white head and foam and it is over carbonated. The taste is grassy with a mild citrus finish. The body is thin and has some bite.

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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.

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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

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Photo of mwilbur
3.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a very clear pale yellow with moderate carbonation producing a 1/4 inch white head that quickly recedes.
S: Mild citrus hops. Hint of lemon and funk.
T: Very mild...citrus hops, lemon, yeast, and...
M: Light body. Slightly oily feel, mildly dry and bitter finish.
D: Goes down easy on a hot day, but very average for style.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing like Kolsh on a summer day I say. Poured this slightly hazy yellow color . Poured this Kolsh from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
This beer produced a thin white head. It had below average head retention. Zero amount of lacing left behind. The aroma was yeasty, and slightly hoppy. The taste of this beer is bready with some banana like yeast flavor. Light in body, very drinkable. Good beer for a summer day. This beer finishes very dry, leading me to empty this glass very quickly. As far as Kolsch goes, this is average.It will do the trick on a hot day.

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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.

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Photo of DJW
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Disclaimer - I work at Trader Joe's, but not on commission or kickback (that I'm aware of - let me know if there's an opportunity!)

Brand new 2011 version (just arrived at TJ's in Redmond, WA, this morning). Label is updated and looks nice, now for the contents...

pours into a nice 1 finger head, dark golden, great clarity. rim of bubbles and light lacing upon drinking half a glass.

nose: light. a little herbal/earthy hoppiness.
taste: light grain, a little funk?, light bitterness on finish
mouthfeel: med to med-high carbonation
drinkability: yep. the dry finish brings you back for another sip, and another. w/ bbq brats, pulled pork, burgers - I'm going to heat up some baked beans quick-like to placate the bbq thing. update: great with the beans.

overall: very drinkable beer. I have book knowledge about Kolsch beers, but not having been to Germany, haven't had an authetic one. I've had Hale's and enjoyed it, but that's about it. That said - I'd be OK with this in my fridge for friends coming over during warm weather.

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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.

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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

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Photo of hmk22
3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought this because this summer brew was being sold at a closeout price ($3.99 for a 6-er) during this brutal winter here in the Hudson Valley. I can't speak to how faithfully it represents the true Kolsch style, but while it is highly drinkable it has almost no character, i.e., anything that makes it memorable. Accordingly, it reminds me of the kind of beer you have after a couple of good ones -- that is, when your palate is not so discriminating and you just want to keep the buzz on. Not that I ever do that, heaven knows -- I'm just saying. Anyway, I think their strategy worked because I was at TJ's today and there was none to be had.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.3/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle from Trader's Joe. Pours golden with a lasting, foamy, white head and medium carbonation. Aroma of grassy hops, some biscuit malt and lemon. Taste is similar but more balanced. Slight off sour notes. Medium, slightly crisp body. Medium, dry finish. Not bad.

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Photo of StonedRugger
3.31/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I saw this beer at the Trader Joe's check outs a couple days ago and at $3 for 6, I figured what the hell. This is my only experience of Kolsch so far. Judging by other reviews I need to search out others to see what a Kolsch is meant to be.

But I'm judging this beer as a Summer Brew since that is what it is called and why Trader Joe's is trying to get them sold before they go bad.

The smell is not good. It smells like any Macro you've had. Thankfully my nose does not work particularly well. I bought the beer because Summer Brew means light and good for sessions or parties where my penchant for high octane IPA's work less well over a few hours drinking.

Crisp moutfeel with a sweet nose and a bitter, and somewhat dry, finish. The bitterness of whatever hops were used stands out, but the aftertaste is not bad.

Appearance is meh, yellowish, very clear. I poured into a pilser and got a fair amount of lacing and lumpy head with bubbles continuing to rise from the bottom.

I put appearance at the end because the first two I had were out of the bottle and having poured the third, I think it might actually taste better in the bottle. A Kolsch? Other members say no. A drinkable beer? Yes. Accept it as a summer seasonal more than a Kolsch and enjoy it...and get them cheap now (October) before they are gone.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours crystal clear dark yellow topped with an off-white craggy head that is constantly being fed with lots of medium sized carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass.

Nose is biscuit grain and tiny hops.

Mouthfeel is creamy and almost thick with carbonation...a bit too much for me.

Taste is similar to the smell but much more so. Biscuit grain first then sharp citrus hops that tingle the tongue. Neither a sweet nor a bitter brew. Simply crisp and refreshing..best at really cold temps.

Lots of drying after you swallow almost forcing you to take another sip...then another. Aftertaste is all about the dry citrus hops.

Another good bargain beer from Trader Joe's.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.08/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Golden & clear with nice looking carbonation. About a finger & a half worth of head, pretty nice lacing.

S: Sweet malt and lemons, with a hint of corn.

T: Just like the smell... lemons, malt & corn.... There is a little spiced mixed in and a little hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel is light to mid bodied, carbonation is there but not over board.

D: Low ABV makes this a good session beer, but it is a little corny for my taste. Overall mix of flavors are not bad just not by cup of tea.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
3.31/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into 500ml Wiehenstephaner World Cup glass.

Appearance: Clear, pale golden color with a large, thick white head that dissipates somewhat quickly and leaves behind heavy spots of lace.

Smell: Pale malt and grassy smells.

Taste: Begins with a sweet grainy flavor, finishing with more grain flavors and a bitter grassy flavor.

Mouthfeel: Light body, heavier carbonation, and a clean, refreshing finish.

Drinkability: A pretty bland beer overall, but it only cost me 20 cents, so I'm not complaining. This would make a good refresher and, at the price I got it for, it's still worth it. If you can get it that cheap, it's at least worth the tasting.

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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.

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Photo of wedge
3.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear solid yellow with a soft, lumpy white head that fills up the rest of my glass. Nice biscuity Pilsner malt aroma, sweetness, noble hops, and a subtle fruit note. Sweet grain and peppery/grassy flavor with enough hops to add a crispy bitterness to the finish. Light and refreshing.

For $6 a 6-pack, I'll take this to the pool or beach over your average macro lager any day. Not the most exciting beer in the world, nor is it a great example of the style (seems to be more of a Pils), but it's an inexpensive summer beer and in this NC heat, it's pretty satisfying.

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Photo of Bajasith
3.37/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

- Brother-In-law brought me this brew along with my usual order of craft brews...
- Poured very clear golden hue with a slight one finger frothy head...
- Smell was that of an iced brewed tea with a hint of lime, not lemmon since lime has a certain bitterness to it, along with malts coming threw in the end...
- Taste was very mellow as the slight bitterness of the hops and roastiness of the malts allowing a hint of caramell sweetness. Very pleasing to the palate as its not to heavy. Small price makes this brew style very drinkable here in the 110 degree weather...

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Photo of droomyster
3.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gold with a small white head. Aromas are pretty subdued but are good: a lemony hoppiness with faintly honeyish maltiness. These same notes come through on the palate, where the flavors are also subdued but are very natural tasting and well-balanced. It's nothing special but it's a fine representative of the kolsch style. A nice choice for sweltering weather.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.5/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear golden with some good head.

Smell: Caramel malts and lemon. Not particular strong, but it's pretty pleasant. I wish there were more of the smell though.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Like the smell, I like the caramel malts and lemon here. Good creamy mouthfeel, but a bit of a metallic taste as well. That's definitely a downside. I do like the vague hops bitterness in the background though, but I wish there were more.

Drinkability: A few of these make for a good barbeque.

Overall: A smooth, fairly clean summer beer perfect for the barbeque.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.1/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A – Very brassy gold, no real head or lacing sticks around after initial pour.

S – A bit lemony and just a hint of buttery caramel.

T – The taste is more of the same, but it seems a little bit spiced, especially with the stronger citrus notes. I am not either impressed or unimpressed with the amplification of flavors compared to a traditional Kolsch, subtlety would’ve worked just as well.

M – Kolsch always has good mouthfeel, it is one of its hallmarks, to me. No exception.

D – This is ok, but not as good as the real German Kolsch.

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Josephs Brau Summer Brew from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.09 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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