Fruit & Hops Jumping the Shark

This might be where the fruit IPA craze crests….

When one of the Trader Joe’s house brands (Uinta, for this one), hits up peach for not just an IPA but a Session IPA. Or is there another fruit that would signify that the trend was winding down?

A New Stroll on Mission Street

Trader Joe’s has a few house brands, Ol’ Burro (Golden Road) and Joseph Brau (Gordon Biersch) and Mission Street which was done by Firestone Walker but now is brewed by 4+ Brewing in Salt Lake City.
So it is time to see how the Utah version of the session pale and IPA taste….

The slightly mercenary naming of the pale ale as a “session pale” is the only turn-off for the blue labeled Mission Street.  The beer has a juicy citrus and tea taste with a nice layer of bitterness and malt underneath. It tastes lighter than the 4.7% ABV.

(On a side note, the label is stamped with the bottling date which is very helpful.)

On to the IPA, which is quite fine.  Woodsy would be the main flavor attribute.  A little toffee sweetness to it which is a bit of a detriment.  Tastes heavier than it’s ABV which is a fitting counterpoint to the pale ale.  Again, it is rather a juicy beer with some pepper notes in it.

I would take the Session Pale over the IPA but both are screaming great deals at $6.99 a six-pack with tax that comes out to about $1.25 a bottle.

Up from the Cellar – Mission Street Anniversary 2011


It is great to have a Trader Joe’s across the street from you especially when they have the Mission Street line of beers and some of their other private label brands that are very inexpensively priced for the quality of beer that you are getting.

This is a Firestone Walker beer and it is a blend of three different beers so it’s sort of a baby version and extremely baby version at that of the anniversary beers that they release each year. It is called an Imperial brown and  I don’t know how much longer Firestone will actually brew this particular brand but if you can get your hands on the 2014 it is out and you should get it.


2011 pours a black with reddish tint. The initial smell from this is big caramel notes with a little bit of oak and a touch little bit of bourbon to it but definitely a caramel sweetness has sort of taken over the whole beer at this point.

It is still zippy though even though it does have much more of a silky mouth feel to it. The alcohol definitely is also more prominent then you would expect from an 8.5% beer but that is more than likely why you shouldn’t of gone past the three years that it has been aging


The verdict probably a year maybe maybe year and a half tops but three is definitely a bit on the long side for holding onto this one.  I should’ve opened this much earlier.

Mission Street in 2013

One of the better beer bargains can be had (unsurprisingly to some) at Trader Joe’s. Their Mission Street brand is brewed by Firestone-Walker and they do a range of blonde to pale to IPA to bombers of brown ale and hefe but each year they put out an Anniversary beer. Now, it doesn’t touch the Firestone-Walker anniversary beers but for the price, you get a great beer. Look for it in the coming months….

Mission Street 2011

One of the great surprises of 2010 were Firestone Walker bombers made for Trader Joesunder the Mission Street Label. The Hefeweizen was solid and even better was the brown ale that had just the right balance of malt and thickness with a spice kick.

Now they have produced a new beer, Mission Street 2011 Anniversary Ale. The copy on the label explains: “This year’s Mission St. Anniversary Ale showcases complex malt flavors with roasty notes layered in and medium hop character. It is a blend of three incredible brews carefully blended for maxiumum aroma and flavor. We affectionately call this brew an Imperial Brown Ale. 8.5% ABV.”.