If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s supermarket near you, then their excellent variety of microbrews should be familiar to you. I’ve been meaning to do reviews of their beers, since they have locations in 31 states and should be available for most LIBA readers.
I’ve become quite fond of grabbing a 22-ounce bottle of the Boatswain American IPA, which until I sat down to do this review, I mistakenly though was a TJ’s brew. In fact, it’s brewed by Minhas, a small Wisconsin brewery. I was first attracted to the Boatswain by the eminently affordable $2 price tag, and have since crushed a ton of these beers over the last few months.
Boatswain pours out a crystal clear, fairly dark amber color, with a nice frothy foam crown. It’s also got a nice amount of tiny-bubble carbonation, and smells faintly hoppy with some roasted malt notes.
As far as IPAs go, this is an exceedingly mellow brew. It starts out with earthy, almost sweet hoppiness, transitions through very sweet malts with a bit of a bready barley flavor, and ends on a decently bitter hop end note. There isn’t a ton of mouthfeel here, and the flavor fades pretty quickly, leaving you wanting another sip…and another…and another.
And that’s really my only beef with this brew – I tend to drink it pretty quickly. At 6.7% ABV, it does some damage because it goes down so smoothly. To me, the Boatswain bomber is pretty much the perfect combination of IPA size, taste, price and strength.