Beer Review: Hardywood Park Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Beer
today at 8:29 pm
My sense of aesthetics rebelled again such a long headline. But there were so many keywords I needed to work in to make this “social media friendly.”
There are quite a few playlists on YouTube devoted to reviewed store brand Aldi and Trader Joe’s beer; many in other countries. If I started now, I could never catch up to them. I’ve run through a vertical of Trader Joe’s annual Vintage Ale, and had some of their holiday spiced ales. But here we have a beer based on one of their most popular products.
I’m not talking ’bout their Speculoos cookies, a sweet and crunchy tea or coffee dunking biscuit. I’m talking about their Speculoos Cookie Butter. It’s cookies ground into oil and more sugar. It’s taste is like an unholy sweet combination of peanut butter and crack. With all the trends in milkshake IPAs and breakfast cereal stouts, you think someone would have put Speculoos cookies into a beer.
It fell to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery of Richmond, VA, to do that, with the sanction of Trader Joe’s. Even so, they did not just throw packages of cookies into the mash. They just made a golden ale at Imperial strength (9.5% abv) and added toasted coconut and vanilla beans. Plus those mysterious “Other Added Flavors.”
It seems this gets around to various TJ stores as fast as they can make it, meaning there may not be many more in the Chicago market for a while.
It pours with an amber to golden color, slightly hazy, under a bubbly head. The smell has cinnamon upfront, interesting since that’s not mentioned in the ingredients. Maybe that’s the toasted coconut talking. Or it’s creating the mouthfeel of shortening that goes into the cookie.
The taste is very spicy, and sometimes overdone like other Trader Joe’s spiced Christmas beers. I tried pairing it with Speculoos cookies and cookie butter, but that was too sweet altogether. Alcohol might be adding to the sweetness, but it takes a long time to be felt.
It’s definitely worth finding if you’re a fans of big dessert beers.
Disclaimer: I purchased this beer for the purpose or review.