Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Brew

I realize I may be placing myself into a somewhat narrow age bracket here, but do any of you remember Trogdor from Strong Bad's emails on Homestar Runner? Anyone? You know, "burninating the countryside" and all that? If you're not familiar or just feeling a little nostalgic, just go ahead and click that link. You can always come back to see my skills of a blogger here.

Now, see, when not burninating the countryside and/or the peasants, a dragon has to drink something, right? Running around breathing fire seems like a thirsty business. But I can't picture Trogdor drinking just some milk or water or some random juice. Nah. Maybe Mountain Dew. But I'd like to think it'd be a drink that offers a little refreshment while still giving a little bit of a burn on the way down, deep in the back of the throat, where your fire glands or whatever are, because you last thing you want is for those to get extinguished.

It's for this reason I picture Trogdor drinking something much like Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Brew. This isn't grandad's ol' ginger ale in a fancy lookin' swingcap bottle. It's much more fierce, and to me, requires some easy sippin'. Each sip starts out pleasant enough for most anyone - a little ginger, a little honey, a little sweetness, a little carbonation, all fairly well balanced. But then it descends. All those sweet little niceties give away to dropping a ginger bomb on the tastebuds that's full and rich (like most of TJ's triple ginger products) that leaves a burn on the way down. Sandy likened it to liquefied ginger candy (which, as much as I like ginger, I despised TJ's version) and initially she didn't like it. We're currently hosting a Chinese high school student, Jack, and when he tried it, he kinda shook his head and slowly backed away. The ginger shock was a bit much for me at first, too, but as I continued my glass, my appreciation for it grew. After a while, not that there's cinnamon in it, but there seemed to be a cinnamon-esque quality to it, though admittedly on the stronger side (not quite this strong though). I'd say the purchase of this ($3) comes with an obvious caveat: If you don't really like ginger, stay away. It's kind a deep-cut B side of a band like say the Doors - if you love the Doors, you'll probably love it; if not, then you don't stand a chance.

I actually have come to like it quite a bit. One suggestion to soften the blow: have it with dessert. One night we had it for a drink alongside some strawberry cheesecake, and the ginger brew seemed to be more of a good, crisp palette cleanser than fire liquid.

Plus, this sounds silly, but the bottle's pretty cool, too. Trogdor probably agrees. I feel kinda bad just recycling it, so I'm hoping to figure out a spouse-approvable second use. Not sure if it could be used for home brew or not, but maybe. Maybe some of you have an ideas. Feel free to share at will. 

I naturally forgot to ask the wife for her input, but I can tell she likes it well enough, but not quite as much as I do. Take our score from below and split as you see fit. And oh, no dumping the ginger brew on your keyboards.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Brew: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

12 comments:

  1. This is my favorite post of yours ever. Even now, my husband and I refer fondly to going on a lyrical rampage. I had forgotten about burninating the countryside and peasants. Awesome.

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    1. Thanks for thinking I did a good jorb :)

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  2. Ahhhh my friends and I were obsessed with Homestar Runner during 7th and 8th grade (2003-2004). I'm now obsessed with this post. I still have my Trogdor the Burninator sweatshirt in my closet!

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  3. The bottles look like they would be perfect for making homemade liqueurs, flavored vinegars, and salad dressings, all of which would make great gifts.

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  4. I have been looking for this at my local TJ since the December Frequent Flyer came out, but so far haven't had any luck.

    Thanks for posting pictures of the nutrition label so that I could go on an internet hunt and find that the unique ingredient profile matches that of Reed's Ginger Brew. Reed's private labeling for TJ is probably either their Extra Ginger Brew or an enhanced version of it. I see Reed's already bottles in the 750 ml size, though probably nothing as fancy as the TJ bottle.

    It's been a long time since I've had Reed's ginger beer, and I've never tried (or even seen) the Extra version. I'd love to hear from someone who can make the comparison.

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  5. I'm sipping it as I read the post, and I'd compare TJ's Triple Ginger Brew to Stewart's Ginger Beer, which was so deliciously ginger-hot, but is no longer available. Reed's is not to my taste and this Triple Ginger Brew doesn't remotely taste like Reed's (thank ginger-goodness!). I've been yearning for hot-tasting ginger beer since Stewart's stopped making theirs because most liquids labeled ginger beer tend to be pretty tame. I'm happy to say that TJ's Triple Ginger Brew is hitting the gingery hot spot for me.

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  6. This stuff is the bomb with some dark (NOT spiced!) rum and a squeeze of lime juice. Incredible dark 'n' stormy right there!!

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  7. The bottle is awesome. I truly did not like the ginger brew though- which was disappointing since I enjoy that spiced-hot ginger taste. The bottle reads all sorts of really awesome ingredients- ginger, honey, lemon, etc- but this just tasted so bland.

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  8. Y'know, I had more of this today, and I realized I'm not all that crazy about it. I prefer the Reed's Extra that TJ also sells. This Triple Ginger has too much honey flavor, not enough ginger bite, and the lime/pineapple hints don't quite do it for me. Not a bad beverage, but it's also not that burninating brew that I crave on occasion.

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  9. This makes the best Moscow Mules EVER!

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  10. Also delicious with some bourbon and a dash of orange bitters. I call it a Buffalo Mule.

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  11. I think that this is not good. Sorry. :(

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