Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Name Tag Lager

My first ever Trader Joe's Beer (contract brewed by Minhas Craft Brewery)

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (708) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 15, 2012
I poured a 12oz can into a lager glass.

Appearance: Typical macro lager body of pale, straw-colored, bubbly water. Initially forms a large, bright white, frothy head, but it evaporates rather quickly and nearly completely. Minor lacing is left on the glass.

Smell: Generic lager aroma minus any foul scents. A hint of lemon .

Taste: When you buy a beer as generically named, marketed, packaged and cheaply priced as Name Tag Lager you go in with low expectations. I’ve had plenty of no-name-brand, bottom-of-the-barrel store brand lagers that have been abysmal (Stewart’s Mountain Brew Beer Ice comes to mind). That’s not the case with this beer sold (as far as I know) only at Trader Joe’s stores. It’s clean, crisp, refreshing and actually a little sweet. Not that it’s delicious, but this is the beer hipsters should be drinking ironically.

Upon my first sip of this beer I pleasantly surprised to discover it was remarkably sweet and very clean tasting. According to Trader Joe’s website it’s an all-malt brew and it definitely shows in the palate. There’s no metallic taste often imparted by toasted corn used by the big boys. There’s a hint of true hop citrus which is likely accounting for the lightly sweet, slightly lemony flavor. I even get a bit of a sugar water-like taste on the finish. It’s an inoffensive palate to be sure, and I do mean that as a compliment. I can honestly say it’s the best cheap pale lager I’ve ever had (sorry, Schlitz).

Drinkability: Usually, pale lagers of this type tend to be ridiculously effervescent. While Name Tag Lager is indeed bubbly, it’s not spastic and out of control like the cheaper brands or even the biggest of the big name brands. The carbonation is finer which lends itself well to the thin, slightly watery mouthfeel. The aftertaste is clean with perhaps just a hint of sweetness (maybe). It’s very refreshing on a hot day or night, and at only 5% ABV it’s definitely a candidate for a session beer, although I think you might get bored with the palate after two cans. Still, if you have to drink a cheap pale lager you could do a lot worse than this one.

GRADE: 6/10