This is the third of Trader Joe’s "Mission Street" beers I’ve had and
the third I found to be underwhelming. Granted the bottles were a little
old, but not ancient. But I think three beers are enough to establish a
trend, and even though this brand is brewed by Firestone Walker the
beers themselves probably are supposed to taste this way - mild and
I poured a 22oz bottle into a Geordie Schooner glass.
Appearance: Dark brown hue on the surface but deep ruby red in the
light. Forms a large, yellowish, foamy head which does lace and retain a
Smell: Noticeable caramel and a hint of milk chocolate. A slight sourness is present as well.
Taste: Brown ales are meant to be drank a bit warmer than most so I let
my bottle of Mission Street Brown Ale warm up for a while and even then
it was surprisingly mild. The palate begins with a mild, wet, cold,
slightly watery taste. Bitterness increases through the middle with a
touch of toasted malt and a hint of burnt coffee. Caramel and chocolate
are somewhat prominent as it goes down, but it’s weak for the style.
It’s closer to the macro Newcastle Brown Ale than a true craft beer and
perhaps that’s what they’re going for (I wouldn’t be surprised).
Not that there’s any off-flavors or other overt flaws except for a very
subtle, minute, mild sourness likely due to the bottle being three
months old at the time (but that’s actually quite young for a bottle
from the opposite coast around here). I could almost give this beer a
thumbs up on the fact it’s not bad, but that’s not much of a compliment.
It’s average all around.
Drinkability: If this beer is meant to drink like a macro then it
definitely succeeds in that aspect. The mild palate and cold, watery,
thin mouthfeel make it comfortable in the mouth and enable it to go down
super smoothly. I was surprised to discover it’s 5.7% ABV since it
seems to have the weight and overall energy of something much more in
the sessionable category and that’s probably how I’d drink it.