Monday, September 3, 2012

Mission Street Brown Ale

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 mainstream.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (722) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 2, 2012
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 bit.

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.

Grade: 5/10