A brief explanation of English Pale Ales and food pairing suggestions!
I am giving you a twofer this week reviewing two offerings found only at Trader Joe’s: Mission Street Pale Ale and Mission Street India Pale Ale. What makes these beers local? Well, two things make these beers local in my book. First, there are umpteen TJ’s in Ventura County. I know that is a stretch especially since you can find TJ’s all around the country but since you can probably find one within a 30 or 40 minute drive I classify that as local. Secondly and most valid reason is that these beers are contract brewed by Firestone Walker’s breweries just up the 101 in Buellton and Paso Robles.
All of the Trader Joe’s branded beers are contract brewed and I haven’t found one that wasn’t a solid well brewed beer. With brewers like Firestone Walker, Gordan Biersch and Montreal’s Unibroue routinely contributing to TJ’s beer line it isn’t hard understand why that is.
On to the reviews:
Mission St. Pale Ale is a wonderful session beer. A session beer is a beer that is light both in body and ABV and can be enjoyed in moderation with little worry of becoming inebriated. Mission St. Pale Ale poured a golden straw color with a head filled with tight white bubbles that lasted throughout the pint. The first whiff was full of hops and as that dissipated the aroma settled into a mouth watering mix of hops and malt. The beer has a moderate hop bite though not as pronounced as a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The hops are tamped back by a firm malt backbone but finishes dry. The dry finish and a lingering hop taste do nothing to quench your thirst but don’t worry at 4.6% ABV you can enjoy a few of these before its time to go home.
Back in October I raved about Firestone Walker’s Union Jack as my go to beer (one that I stock and drink when my homebrew is gone) but it has been replaced by Mission Street IPA. The good news for Firestone Walker is that it was replaced by another one of THEIR beers.
Mission St. IPA poured a crystal clear dark straw with an off-white head. The aroma was full of citrus hops though not as pronounced as Union Jack. The beer has a great citrus hop flavor (a mix of grapefruit and tangerine) and the sharp piney bitterness that is rounded off by a solid malt backbone. This is a really good example of an American IPA and while I don’t have the specific IBU for this IPA it is well within the hop guidelines. At 6.1% ABV Mission Street IPA is right in the middle of the ABV range but take care not to enjoy this one too much because it will sneak up on you. All in all this is a great everyday beer and at $5.99 a sixer you can’t afford to miss this beer.