A few days ago, we got two new beers into Trader Joes- Mission Street Brown Ale and Mission Street Hefeweizen. I got both of them and after hearing that the brown was better, decided to go for that one first. I'm gonna admit, after trying the brown, I'm a little scared to try the hef.
Mission Street's Brown Ale didn't look half bad after I poured it. It was a rich and deep amber color that you could only see through when holding it directly up to the light. The head was about a half inch of light cream colored foam. In the looks department, this beer really wasn't half bad. The smell wasn't terrible, it just didn't seem to have a lot going on. If you smell a Sierra Nevada or even something like a Blue Moon, you can tell that there are things going on in the beer that you can't wait to taste. Whether it's the bright hop smells of the Sierra Nevada or the citrus smells of a Blue Moon, the smells are intriguing and make you want to taste the beer. The smell of the brown ale, frankly, really didn't leave a lot to the imagination. Actually, there wasn't much of a smell at all.
Before I go on to the taste, I think it's only fair to say that it's highly possible that this brown ale was at a huge disadvantage going in. I went to the Ballast Point brewery on Thursday, and was absolutely blown away by everything going on in their beers. Their beers are anything but one-dimensional. Everything you taste there has so much going on that you can't wait to take another sip to try and figure it out. My favorite was one I was trying for the first time- their Fathom IPL. This beer was a mix of an IPA and a lager in which the beer is brewed like an IPA but uses lager yeast to create a smoother taste. The end result was something that smelled fresh and hoppy like a good IPA, but was smooth to drink like a lager. After having this, I'd say it would be tough for any beer to follow that up. Well, except for one beer I'll be reviewing soon. Anyways, I'm sorry Mission Street, but that's the way the dominoes fell.
After one taste of Mission Street's Brown Ale, I could pretty much tell exactly what was going on. There was a pretty one dimensional darker malt flavor with a tiny hint of caramel sweetness. And that was about it. Many beers progress in flavor as you drink them. The first taste can be sweet and then progress to something else in your mouth and then the flavor can change again to something totally different when you swallow it. This beer stayed exactly the same from initial taste to finish. I let the beer warm, hoping to bring a fuller flavor out, but it stayed exactly the same. In all fairness to this ale, I will admit that I haven't had a ton of browns before. Maybe this is more a case of me not liking brown ales than me not liking this one. And while I liked this one more than some of the others I've tried, this was still a little too one-dimensional for my liking. What can this brown do for me? Apparently not much.
Final Grade: C+