Trader Joe's Fan - Trader Joes Vintage Ale 2009

vintageale_sm.gifThe rule with wines and cheeses is that they generally get better with age. Trader Joe’s doesn’t stop there, though. Each year TJ’s releases a limited amount of an aged beer they call Vintage Ale. The flavor, color, aroma and mouthfeel of these vintage varieties are rich, complex and delicious.

The 2009 Vintage Ale is a dark black brew full of malty cocoa scent. It pours a frothy coffee-colored head. This beer is definitely best when enjoyed from a glass, giving it room to breath and express itself fully. The 2009 ale has just a touch of citrus flavor, which at first might not seem to go with the dark, mocha-like qualities of the beer, but its subtle introduction to your palette complements the deep malt flavor that envelops your taste buds, accenting the ale in just the right way.

This is a slightly sweet beer, which is most apparent with the first sip. As you drink, the flavors develop more fully and the sweetness fades into the background, harmonizing with the coffee and cocoa flavors of the beer. Pour yourself a tall glass of this ale on a cold winter’s night and you’ll be toasty in no time.

Jake Kulju is a freelance writer, and food & wine reviewer. Visit his web site,

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