Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2012 and Further Elf on the Shelf Shenanigans

Next up, Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2012 (brewed and bottled by Unibroue):

photo (91)

Unexpectedly, my Tröegs Mad Elf review ended up pretty popular. I think this was mostly due to the coke-snorting and Bacardi-swigging Elf on the Shelf pics. I clearly underestimated how sick you people really are. So, since I am nothing if not a traffic whore, I give you more naughty Elf on the Shelf.

Here is Elf on the Shelf celebrating the Colorado Governor signing into law Amendment 64:

You have to admire his DIY initiative.

You have to admire his DIY initiative.

And here is Elf proving that child-proof veterinary prescription bottles are not elf-proof:

photo (93)Now, with that out of the way…every year Unibroue brews and bottles a holiday beer for Trader Joe’s. Each year seems to be slightly different. Here is the review for the 2011, which tasted pretty Coca Cola-y. Also of note, in the review I make fun of French-Canadians…but who doesn’t really.

It pours dark brown…chestnut, I suppose, if you’re feeling festive. It has a tight, tan head that recedes begrudgingly to leave a ring and thin layer. It smells like ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. There is a hint of Coke, too, but not nearly as much as last year. It tastes like some moderately zippy gingerbread, and it has a tell-tale fruity and spicy Unibroue house yeast flavor to it. Carbonation is moderately high, but that’s not out of sorts for a Belgian Dark Ale. And it finishes pretty clean with a little licorice lingering around like the last Christmas party guest to leave, but they help with the dishes, so it’s cool.

It’s pretty good, especially for the price. And it’s definitely better than last year’s…or at least a little more complex.

The Haybag (from her shot glass-sized pregnancy portion): Gah. The carbonation is too much, it’s killing my heartburn. My advice to any pregnant readers: Don’t drink this.

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Beer Review: Trader Joe’s 2011 Vintage Ale

From the store that brings you old-timey ads; aisles so damn narrow that people touch butts (“moon landing”) when they each bend down to grab something on opposite shelves; and quirky, Hawaiian-shirt-clad cashiers who for no apparent reason ring those loud-ass bells…we bring you the annual holiday Trader Joe’s 2011 Vintage Ale (brewed in Chambly, Quebec, by Unibroue).

The bottle says “Ale on Lees”. Fret not, that is just a fancy-pants way of saying there is yeast on the bottom and it’s bottle conditioned. French Canadians are so cute.

They're essentially just Winter hardy Southerners, who speak French.

One word sums up this beer: Coke. Not the wake-up-in-the-ringtail-lemur-cage-wearing-lipstick-and-a-strap-on-lizard-tail Coke. I mean Coca-Cola Coke. It looks like a Coke that has a nice, retained head. It smells like gingerbread, Belgian yeast…and Coke. And it tastes like a gingery, more carbonated, less sweet version of Coke. Although, I don’t think of this as a bad thing, especially for the price of this beer (like $5). Buy it. Drink it. Like it.

Happy f%$king Holidays.

The Haybag: It’s less spicy than last year’s version. I think it tastes like gingerbread and dark fruit.  And it’s pretty carbonated. Is that from that Scarface movie you always try to get me to watch.  You didn’t tell me it was a Christmas movie!