Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer
As I was waiting in line to check out at Trader Joes I noticed a couple of 22 ounce beers staring me down amongst the chocolates, granola bars, and other “impulse buy” items surrounding the checkout line. Trader Joes is well-known for their cheap but quality wine – 3 Buck Chuck, so I decide that a Double IPA for $1.99 is worth a try. The beer is brewed for Trader Joes by Rhinelander Brewing Company in Monroe, Wisconsin; however, when you look on their website the Boatswain labels are nowhere to be seen. I have also read it is by Minhas Brewery which is also in Monroe, so I assume these two are somehow related. It is now fairly common to see these larger chains contracting a brewery or winery to produce their own label of beer or wine (Costco and Whole Foods for example). Trader Joes actually has a few personalized brands/brews like Name Tag Lager and Trader Jose’s all sold at very low prices covering a variety of styles.
This particular beer is the Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer and it weighs in at 8.4% ABV. As mentioned earlier it is 22 ounce bomber at a cost of $1.99. My last Imperial/Double IPA reviewed a few weeks back, Oskar Blues Deviant Dale, was one of favorites to date so it has quite a bit to measure up to.
The beer pours to reveal a brilliant copper color with fairly minimal tan head which recedes almost immediately. The smell is very nice with the obvious hops for an IPA. Grapefruit and pineapple aromas combined with a very present malt give it quite a sweet smell which actually overpowers the hops. The taste once again starts you off with the obvious IPA hops, citrus, piney tastes. The alcohol taste is present, but not overwhelming due to the malt over powering most of the flavors giving it a sweet finish. The mouth feel is chewy and dense with very small bubbles of carbonation. Overall, this IPA reminds me more of an English style than American as the hops seem to be earthier than the American floral hops; however, it may just be that malt masking the true aromas. Given the price point of $2, I think this is a good buy and well worth a try. Measuring it up against other Double IPAs I will have to give 3 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.
Next time you are at Trader Joes, don’t be afraid to try this and their other labels as they have prided themselves on high quality with low prices in all their products. While trying to find some information on Trader Joe’s beers, I ran across a nice and simple beer style guide which I would like to share. Check it out at: http://www.traderjoes.com/guides/beer-styles.asp#1.
Wow, just tried this and it was … bad. Not any where near the style of a DIPA. It seems like there is some weird German(?) malt profile, and the hops just don’t cut it. Given the price and ABV though, I may mix it with a hop forward (Victory Hop Wallop?) beer to see if I can make it more palatable. I do have to say, $1.99 has me really wanting to see how I can get this to work…
Try one with a Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar (also $1.99 – at the checkout)… they pair up fairly decent in an interesting combination.