Thursday, November 29, 2018

Trading Up

Once upon time, back in Mrs Velkyal and I's BC days (before children), we would quite regularly pop into Trader Joe's to pick up some of the more interesting food that they sell. Nowhere else in the area does things like chicken balti pies, proper German bratwurst actually from Germany, or even divine 1lb bars of Belgian milk chocolate. In the chaos that is the first year or so of twin parenthood we stuck exclusively to Wegmans largely for the convenience of being able to go to one place and be done. Recently though we went back to Trader's to stock up on some of the things we had missed, so naturally a wander to the beer aisle was in order, and I was kind of hoping the winter doppelbock would be on the shelves.

Alas and alack there was no doppelbock on this trip, but there were a couple of beers I had not seen before, a Mosaic Pale Ale called Caco-Phony and a Dutch Pilsener called Peter's Brand. The Caco-Phony came as a 6 pack of 12oz cans for $6.49, and the pilsener a six pack half litre cans for $7.99 - bargain central! Let start with the Peter's Brand.


Ok, so the can says this is a 'Dutch Style Pilsener', but it is brewed under license in a German brewery - ahhh European integration and collaboration at its finest. It actually pours a really nice golden colour with a very flimsy white head that vanishes the moment you look askance at it. Aroma is mostly a nice malted graininess with some herbal hoppiness buried in the background, and that is pretty much the tale of the flavour as well. The malt just about dominates, it has a juicy sweetness that I tend to associate with European base malts, maybe a light nutty character, and then some more herbal hops and a little lemongrass chucked in for measure. One thing missing from the beer for my tastes is a good firm hop bitterness, it is just a touch too smooth and mellow, almost like a Dortmunder really. This one is simple, obviously put together well, and a perfectly chuggable beer, I'll be buying it again for sure.


Moving on then to something more with the current craft zeitgeist, Caco-Phony is an American Pale Ale hopped apparently exclusively with Mosaic, one of the darlings of the new hop varieties out there. As you can see form the picture it pours a hazy orange, topped with a slightly off white head that lingers, and lingers, and lingers. Through the head though comes a kaleidoscope of aromas, yes the pine and citrus of American hops is there, but then so was a rich earthiness, some tropical fruit, mangoes in particular, and even a lovely spicy note, mosaic indeed. Tastewise the Mosaic again is front and central, but with a honeyed support cast from the malt giving it way more balance than I expected from the aroma. This really is a nice, nice beer, and at $6.49 for a six pack it'll be int he fridge again pretty soon.

I will be raiding the booze aisles of Trader Joe's again more often I think if I get decent beers at a price that won't send me to the workhouse. Hopefully next time though there will be the doppelbock, I need it to soak the fruit for my Yule cake in...

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