THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

By Tim Nelson
September 17, 2020
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UPDATE: September 17, 2020

Looks like Trader Joe's annual pumpkin haul isn't the only thing rolling out to stores at the moment. Instagrammer @thesnacksoflife spotted the highly anticipated dessert beer at the Irvine, California, Trader Joe's. Here's to hoping it's nationally available very soon.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: July 8, 2020

If there are two things we all have (deservedly) enjoyed more frequently during this flaming garbage pile of a year, it’s dessert and beer. While each of those food and drink categories is great on their own, what you may or may not know is that “dessert beer” is a very real thing that exists. And if you happen to do some of your shopping at Trader Joe’s, it sounds like there’s about to be a whole flight’s worth of dessert beers headed to store shelves this fall.

That’s according to an inside scoop from a recent episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, the official source for audio updates about the beloved grocery chain. In a recent episode, TJ’s product developer Catherine Rhodes walked the hosts through an upcoming line of dessert beers seat to hit Trader Joe’s shelves in the months ahead, just in time for tasty drinking when the weather starts to cool down and we’re still stuck inside because planning any kind kind of rational, science-based response to a pandemic is apparently incompatible with American exceptionalism.

Fittingly, some of the flavors take direct inspiration from some of TJ’s tasty treats. For example, Cookie Butter Beer is based on its popular namesake, and a drink that Rhodes said took 18 attempts to get that signature Trader Joe’s taste just right. “Trader Joe’s is cookie butter headquarters, so we couldn’t have an okay Cookie Butter Beer. It had to taste just as good as what’s in the jar.”

Trader Joe's

What’s particularly remarkable about this Imperial Ale-style brew supposedly weighs in at a whopping 9.5 percent ABV. Maybe it’s a dessert beer because in part because it’s time for bed after downing just one or two.

While a boozy Cookie Butter Beer is probably the standout, it’s not the only option. Other elements of the dessert beer rollout will include a Coffee Peanut Butter Cup Porter hitting shelves in time for Halloween, plus two holiday-oriented offerings: a Ginger Beard Spiced Stout, and a Toasty Cookie Spice Cider. Details about the latter two on the podcast were scant given that they’ll be released a bit further out than the planned September launch of Cookie Butter Beer.

Shopping at Trader Joe’s in the era of social distancing is already a time-consuming—but ultimately worthwhile—project. Thankfully, these beers should help make that trip just a little bit more worthwhile once they start rolling out. Lord knows we’ll need them.