Mission St. Pale Ale - Steinhaus Brewing Co., Paso Robles
Trader Joe's recently opened up in Kansas City. There was much fanfare and at least a week's worth of massive lines as people clamored for cheap wine and slightly-better-than-Aldi-quality food. I patiently waited a couple weeks until stopping by and picking up a sixer of Mission St. Pale Ale. I'd heard a lot of good things about this beer but was always reluctant to bring any home from out of town because it's essentially just another relabeled product and I figured a beer that's contract brewed for a discount grocery couldn't be all that great, right? Well, it did kinda win a gold medal at GABF...
The whole Mission St. line of beers are produced under the Steinhaus Brewing Co. name, a brand owned by Firestone Walker. Like everything else that's sold at Trader Joe's, this beer was relabeled under a house brand and sold at a discount. I believe this six pack was right around $6. Trader Joe's happened to be out of most bombers so the six pack was my only option. I can't blame people who opted for the bomber, who wouldn't spend $1.99 on 22oz of craft beer?
The Mission St. Pale Ale pours a light golden color and kicks up a big foamy white head. The beer settles slightly darker but still a crystal clear golden color with a big billow white head that leaves tons of lacing all down the sides of your glass. There's a big hop aroma that comes rolling off of this beer despite the thick head. It smells like a grassy IPA, and I mean that in a good way.
If I were tasting this beer blind I'd swear it were an IPA and not a Pale Ale. Mission St. Pale Ale has just enough hop character in the aroma and flavor that I'd put it just on the IPA side of the line, and that might be my only complaint with this beer. If you don't look at the label and just pick up a pint of this beer it might strike you as a weaker IPA. Knowing this is Pale Ale with a supersized hop profile is a good thing. It tastes pale, only slightly bitter and vaguely sweet. All of the flavors, aside from the hops, are more subtle than they are in most IPAs I've had. I could definitely see someone judging this beer poorly because it doesn't hold up to other IPAs... because it's a hoppy Pale Ale. Likewise, I'm sure hop heads really enjoy this beer because because the more balanced Pale Ale base allows for more of that great hop flavor to come through.
This is a very approachable beer and one I'd recommend to anyone who has access to a Trader Joe's, it's cheap, tastes great and it's made by one of America's great craft beer breweries.