Okay, let’s get this straight. Mission St. IPA is brewed by Steinhaus Brewing Company. And Steinhaus Brewing Company is actually Firestone Walker Brewing Company under a different name. Steinhaus is the name they use for the beer they brew on contract for Trader Joe’s. There. Now we can move on.

Mission St. IPA was gifted to me. It comes in a rather normal brown bottle and has a fairly forgettable label. It screams “simplicity” to me, and that’s what Trader Joe’s is all about: simple, affordable, integrity. These are libations that don’t hurt your pocketbook, but still have a level of sophistication (or in the very least, a creative standard). And Mission St. IPA seems to fit the bill. It’s an India Pale Ale, $5.99 for a six-pack at the local Joe’s. Without being too dramatic, it has a pedigree. It’ll likely be balanced: not too hoppy, not too malty … just right for the closet hipster or baby daddy.

This bottle pours a solid red-brown into my tulip glass (outwardly fluted at the top to release aromas). The head develops to two fingers, but sheepishly (this will be a slightly undercarbonated ale). It smells of American hops: pine dominates, with some floral and a little citrus. The darker color tells me it’s also well malted for an IPA, and I am right: a sweet, toasty/fruity presence is definitely there in the nose as well, taking up valuable real estate from the hops. Aromas accounted for. On to the sip.

It’s not in any way surprising, this. I’d bet most average beer fans would agree that from base to bottle cap, Mission St. IPA is worth … all 599 pennies. Not super hoppy, not super malty. A little bit less carbonated than you’d want from an IPA. Tastes like it smells. Doesn’t convey innovation, doesn’t convey sloppiness either. In all, it’s a cheaper IPA, but still an IPA. If you’re looking to save a little money and enjoy a slightly stronger ale than, say, your run-of-the-mill Amber or Bitter or Pale, grab yourself some Mission St. IPA and run through the sliding doors, with your reusable grocery bag made from recycled reusable grocery bags in tow.