Contracting, partnerships, subsidiaries, outsourcing, and mergers leave many a beer lover wondering who's brewing their beer.
What I do know, is Trader Joe's does not have its own brewery. Although this beer proudly states that this cold beverage was "Brewed and Bottled by Trader Joe's Brewing Co, San Jose, CA", I just don't buy it.
If fact, I didn't buy it. It was a purchase by the fam during a dinner visit at the rent's house. Now, I'm happy to accept and consume any free beer, but I was initially dubious of a brew without a real brewery. After a quick Internet scan, it seems Trade Joe's contracts with Gordon Biersch, Firestone Walker, and Unibroue to make their brand label brew. After this reassurance, I delved right in.
The Hofbrau Bock pours a rick golden color with basically no head. The beer has a distinct banana smell of many traditional European hefeweizens. The smell does not correlate to taste as it hits the palate with a larger type feel with a crisp clean aftertaste. Despite this lager feel the brew does pack a punch. This bock stands proudly at 7% alcohol. Very high for most beers. Surprisingly it is quite drinkable. I wouldn't want to take on more than two at a time, but the fact that one goes down easy is impressive for the abv.
With no incredible flavors or features this seems like your average bock. Which it is. However, for anyone who has shopped at Trader Joe's knows, the store is dirt cheap. The sixpack total according to the receipt was $5.29. $5.29! Total. That's remarkable. For an average beer with a high alcohol content this might be the best bang for your buck out of any micro type six pack. I know Kirkland Brand (Costco) also initiated a deal with Gordon Biersch for some future brews so we'll have to see if they can beet this price. (Most likely they can do to bulk purchasing). However, with the price increases of most sixpacks steadily increasing during this hop shortage I really can't fault Trader Joe's for an reasonably priced average beer. I might just try their other selections.