Trader José – Dark

On my last trip to the US I stepped into a Trader Joe’s and fell in love with the beer selection. While I contemplated over which new beers I would like to try a clerk said if I wanted I could create my own taster six-pack. I left the store with 12 beers. I figured I would give a nod to the store that allowed me to pick up a variety of different beers by picking up their brand beer.

Also it was dirt cheap.

Trader José Dark Lager is a Mexican import much like Negro Modelo, the go to beer for all-inclusive Mexican vacations. It is an American Amber / Reg Lager style beer.

Beer pours dark mahogany and very clean. Up against a light you really see some of the red shine through the dark brown beer. Head was a nice foamy tan colour that really sticks around.

Sweet malty aroma right off from the start. You can really detect the breadiness and biscuit malts.

Taste is what you would expect. Has a nice bready thickness to it that you can chew on. Nothing too complex but it has a very clean finish.

This is a simple beer. It’s not complex and bursting with flavour. Simple isn’t bad. It’s the type of beer you can enjoy plenty of on a nice summer day. This beer is also very cheap and at that price point I would recommend it over many other beers in the low price range.

However, it is a bit bland for my own personal taste and I wouldn’t go out of my way to have it again.

St-Ambroise Scotch Ale

St-Ambroise Scotch AleSt-Ambroise Scotch Ale

ABV: 7.5% (Bottle 341ml)

Malts: Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Peated Malt

This is the first of the 2012 St-Ambroise seasonal brews. Living so close to the brewery, I spend a lot of time there on the terrace, and I was able to have a taste this past summer. Now finally it is available for the masses and you can pick up a four pack (or more) at select locations around the city. This is by far one of my top brews of theirs and I think second only to their Pumpkin Ale.

It also seems to be up from 7.2% from last year.

St-Ambroise Scotch Ale is dark ruby red with a tawny head – sweet and malty, with hints of vanilla and butterscotch, and a log hop finish. With it’s 7.5% alcool, this beer evokes the classic “wee heavies” or the full-bodied 90-shilling strong winter ales of Scotland. Enjoy a glass of St‑Ambroise Scotch Ale and celebrate over 400 years of Scottish heritage in Canada.


This pours out very smooth and leaves a small light brown head.
Like the description says, this is a very deep red, ruby, beer.
It is very clear, without much carbonation, and the head disappears quickly.


It has a caramel/butterscotch aroma with some dark fruits mixed in.
It very pleasing, without being very complex, it seems that there is a new aroma each time you go back, cherries, toffee, caramel, dark smokey malts.


The beer is extremely smooth and has a silky almost buttery feel to it in your mouth. The carbonation plays well and adds some nice feel to it.
The taste is just like the aromas, sweet with a caramel/butterscotch flavour and it plays just right together. It is quite a nice light taste, with a bit of a hint of smokiness.
There was not much of an alcohol taste to it as well, which added to my enjoyment.
The sweetness and flavour stay with the after taste without turning bitter.


This is an exceptional seasonal beer that I wish was available more often. It goes down very smooth, but doesn’t rush you. It tastes great cold and 30 minutes later I was still sipping on it and enjoying every drop. I didn’t want it to end. So I opened another bottle and had another go.

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