missionstbrownaleThe Mission St. Brown Ale is a $2.29 (22 oz bottle) Trader Joe’s exclusive. The label says Brewed and Bottled by Steinhaus Brewing Co., but a quick check with the www.TTB.gov public website shows Firestone Walker Brewery, a craft brewery from Paso Robles, California as the producer. In the past few years the market for excess grapes for wine has dried up, several years of below average yields has driven up the price of grapes or excess wine. Trader Joe’s saw the wine market dry up, but the beer supply is just fine, so they jumped into craft beer. The alcohol content for the Mission St. Brown Ale is 5.7%

The color is a molasses brown with beige head. The nose is crisp and clean, with a little spice from the hops and sweet butterscotch. It tastes of cold coffee, molasses, orange zest, lightly salted cashews, a light slap of spice and a late hit of French vanilla coffee creamer. This is a crisp, not heavy, almost mellow Brown ale. A little spicier and a bit less weight than say a Newcastle Brown. The Mission St. Brown Ale would be right at home on a hot summers day, no need to stick with Lager beer just because the thermostat is on the rise. So, there you go, it is a clean, refreshing, not heavy, tasty, inexpensive craft beer, that fans of NewCastle Brown or Shiner Bock will readily enjoy. 

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.