My local Trader Joe’s (and by local, I mean across the street) has upped it’s beer game in the past 5-6 months. More options and newer options as well. But that hasn’t meant a stop to their “house” brands. So my beer radar was up when I saw Ol’ Burro Brewing of Los Angeles on their shelves.
Now their house brands are pretty solid. Unibroue and Gordon Biersch with Firestone Walker doing some as well and now it appears Golden Road as well. No mention of it on the box. Other than a mysterious “brewed in Los Angeles”.
Since there are not many breweries in Los Angeles and not many at all that can. It is not much of a leap to Golden Road. A cursory Googling found only an address. An address on West San Fernando Road. Which if you have been to Golden Road, is their street location. After my Sherlocking, I asked the clerk where it was brewed and you can guess the answer I got.
Now I don’t know why the subterfuge. The beer geeks will find out and all they are fooling are people who may not understand the contract beer thing. And that may turn people off if and when they find out. I would put proudly brewed for Trader Joe’s by Golden Road on the label and if people liked this lower priced offering, they might reach for the higher priced Heal the Bay Or Wolf Among Weeds the next time they beer shopped.
That is a topic oft covered on this blog so lets get to the beer…..
It pours a dark amber brownish/orange color. For a pale ale, there is not much hop nose at all. 45 IBUs doesn’t scream hoppy though it is more in line with a traditional pale ale. The first sips mirror the aroma. Primarily maltiness. Super easy to drink. Leaves a pretty lacing on the glass too. Very quenching but more an ESB than a pale. And if the box and can replaced pale with ESB, I would have been pleasantly surprised. As a pale ale, it is no great shakes and could use a serious bitter boost.
Obviously at a lower price point, you can’t expect Citra, Nelson or Rakau in your pale but you would expect more hoppiness to be there. They also have four packs of a blonde ale as well. Usually those don’t stray too far style wise. That makes the choice easier. If you want light, go for the blonde it will only set you back $4.99. If you are in a malty mood then pony up an extra buck for the Gold Brick (ESB).