Ah, Princeton, NJ. Once known as an Ivy League town, prided on top-notch schooling and producing some of the nation's elite scholars, engineers, educators, and financiers, has become known to my wife and I as a fun place to go geocaching, and more importantly, Trader Joe's Beverage Central—as it is apparently known to quite a few here in the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Pittsburgh-based Shellys (who don't actually drive 5 1/2 hours JUST to buy Trader Joe's brand alcoholic beverages—they apparently have family in the area). I understand those liberal New Yorkers have quite a few options when it comes to Trader Joe's brand libations, but those of us in South Jersey, Delaware, and the Quaker State have one heck of a time procuring the stuff. It's a little over an hour's drive for us, so we only go when we have other reasons to be in the area. But recently, business took us to Tiger territory...and we found a fascinating brew or two.
And so, it's time for a beer review. In 685 posts on this blog, this is only the fourth post dedicated to actual alcoholic beer, and the first featuring Trader Joe's Josephsbrau label. Five years back, Sonia and I took a look at TJ's Corona Light knockoff and found it to be a pretty decent imitation of the original. On that particular shopping excursion, there had been no full-calorie Corona-esque beers available, and their selection (at least at that location in Los Angeles) was vastly inferior to the selection we find currently at suds-friendly TJ's locations here on the East Coast. And fortunately for me, as my taste in beers has migrated from mass-produced lagers to more interesting craft brews over the last five years, so, apparently, has Trader Joe's selection moved in the same direction.
I'm far from a beer expert, but I know enough about pilsners and beer in general to know that, despite the claims made on the can itself, Miller Lite is NOT a "fine pilsner beer." Just like a brew Russ reviewed many moons ago, pilsners are originally from the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. As I learned on Wikipedia, they were made with soft water, pale malts, noble hops, and bottom-fermenting yeasts.
Similar to other pilsners I've had, this beer poured a light straw-ish color with a fairly small head of foam. With an average alcohol content (5.4% ABV) the flavor was bready more than malty and there was a sharp bitterness to it. It left a slightly bitter aftertaste, too. It was well-carbonated, but not overly so. If you've been reading this blog a while, you know I LOVE fizzy beverages.
Another interesting note about this product is the peculiar spelling of "pilsner." There are plenty of other acceptable ways to spell the word, but this is the first I've seen "PLZNR." TraderJoes.com claims it's simply because the beer is unique, but I'm wondering if, similar to the band "Chvrches," it has to do with search engine optimization? Both the band and the beer are "not bad" in my humble opinion, but I'd say the unique spellings are strokes of marketing genius. Sonia agrees about the beer, but no so much about the weird spellings.
Bottom line: 7 out of 10.