Trader Joe’s SIMPLER TIMES LAGER (beer)


This is one of Trader Joe’s most inexpensive beers, which is a surprisingly good craft beer.

This lager is crisp and easy to drink, and has well-balanced flavors that pairs well with food and is excellent on its own. Also suprising is it’s ABV of 6.2. It’s brewed by a family-owned craft beer brewing company in Wisconsin, which has been brewing beer for 150 years.

Very refreshing and tasty and a super bargain for the price – under a dollar. There is also a Simple Times Pilsner which is crisp and light but a bit less flavorful than this Lager but also pretty good.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/simpler-times-lager-12pk-162590

Bavarian Bratwurst with Sauerkraut Combo


The combination of TJ’s Uncured Bratwurst with their natural Sauerkraut is pretty much a no-brainer.

Maybe the only question is whether you warm up the sauerkraut with your bratwurst – or just serve it on the side, cool, so its crunchier. You can make an easy and terrific lunch or dinner if you team up these made for each other items with a few more TJ items…. put the Bratwurst on some bread (BRIOCHE?) or TJ’s Brioche Hot Dog Buns. The mustard of your choice (Dijon with mustard seeds or Spicy Brown?).

Here I went with sautéed potatoes cooked up with the Bratwurst and sauerkraut on the side. These all made for a super dinner combo.

RECIPE: Sauteed Pan fried Potatoes – Cut up a few Yukon Golds into cubes and par-boil them 5 minutes or so in salted water. Add the drained potatoes to a nonstick pan with oil and butter and toss in a sliced onion. Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally until the potatoes are done and golden brown. Make room in the pan, and add your bratwurst around the 10 minute mark and cook on both sides until browned. You can put shallow slashes to score them before cooking which will open up as they cook. Garnish with chopped parsley or arugula for color. Serve with sauerkraut and mustard. Serving Options: beer and bread (brioche hot dog buns or chewy sourdough)

TJ’s Pain De Campagne (country bread loaf)


Trader Joe’s Pain De Campagne (French Country Bread) – Minimalist packaging huh? But trust me, if you see this bread, grab it. It’s delicious. In a bakery I’m thinking this would sell for about 6 or 7 bucks? Trader Joe’s had it for about $2.80 for just over a 1 lb. piece.

Ingredients include: Water, Unbleached Unbromated Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Rye Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Dark Beer…. We are talking serious bread folks, good bakery bread. Naturally this will greatly benefit from being refreshed with a baking or toasting in the oven for 10 minutes to get it crusty again.

I do find it pretty funny they write on the package: “Contains Wheat. May Also Contain Gluten”.

TJ’s Sierra Nevada WILD LITTLE THING BEER


Sierra Nevada WILD LITTLE THING ALE

Very drinkable!

The can says Wild Little Thing is a “slightly sour ale”. I think that is a brewing method more than a description of it’s taste. I didn’t find it terribly sour at all but perfectly balanced. I was a little surprised I liked it so much as I found it way better than the package design (& crazy font) lead me to believe. Tasting it, I thought this is really good, even delicious, a bit fruity, neither too bitter nor too sweet, but with a nice balanced taste. It has a lovely rosé color, with a small pale head and tiny bubbles. A highly refreshing and “easy drinking” ale. It was delicious with food, it went very well with our tacos that night.

I would buy this again no question.

https://sierranevada.com/beer/wild-little-thing/

“This slightly sour Wild Little Thing has just the right smack of tartness for serious refreshment, while guava, hibiscus and strawberry lend fruity-sweet depth and a bright pop of color.”

Sierra nevada’s description

Mustard and Ale Cheddar Cheese


Trader Joe’s “British Mustard and Ale Cheddar”? Hmmm…Sounds a bit intriguing, no? Comes in a small package, only 5 ounces and kind of cheap, it was well under two bucks. Now I have to say I’m not usually one who is too into cheeses with added “flavors”. Still on rare occasion you do come across a quite decent cheese with something added to the cheese that works quite well. An example are some Dutch Gouda’s that have cumin or caraway seeds in them. I’ve tried some that are really delicious. I didn’t know what to expect from a Mustard and Ale Cheddar. I love mustard with cheese of course especially cheddar. So I got some of this mustard and ale cheese to taste, and frankly thought well it’s OK, its got a lot of whole mustard seeds in there which are a little strong, maybe over-shadowing the cheddar. I couldn’t put my finger on the “ale” part really. So I think, it’s OK but would I buy more, no, not really, I’d rather buy a jar of TJ’s excellent Whole Grain Dijon Mustard and some Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar or New Zealand Extra Sharp Cheddar and use some mustard as I see fit. But here’s the funny part. During this evaluation, I tasted a piece, then tasted another. Just one more bite…. ok one more… and soon I realized during this tasting I had eaten about half the package. It was hard for me to stop tasting this cheese! Maybe I liked it more than I though? So if the combination sounds appealing to you, you may want to give this a try and see what you think.

TIP While we are at it, if you want a great melted cheese sandwich, try spreading that TJ whole grain Dijon on some nice bread before you add your cheese. Grill it up with butter. When all the elements melt together its pretty great. So I figure this cheese might make a very good melted cheese sandwich too. If anyone tries that let us know if its any good like that. So its a bit odd, but this cheese may be worth trying. If you put it out on a cheese plate, folks might even ask where you got this stuff.