Campanology Every Time Buche De Noel Stout

Val picked up another Trader Joe’s beer for me last time she was there. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 8%

Style: American Stout

Trivia: According to, “Trader Joe’s is an American chain of grocery stores based in Monrovia, California. By 2015, it was a competitor in ‘fresh format’ grocery stores in the United States. As of October 12, 2017, Trader Joe’s had 474 stores nationwide in 43 states and in Washington, D.C. The first Trader Joe’s store was opened by founder Joe Coulombe in 1967 in Pasadena, California. Starting in 1979, it was owned by German entrepreneur Theo Albrecht, until his death in 2010, when ownership passed to his heirs. Trader Joe’s is a subsidiary of German supermarket chain ALDI Nord. The company has offices in Monrovia, California, and Boston, Massachusetts.”

Random: It’s been raining for days here and I’m so over it.

This beer poured with a two finger, tan head. It dissipated slowly and left significant lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color with moderate carbonation. The nose started with the normal stout notes of chocolate, roasted malts and coffee. It then went into some sweeter notes of toffee and caramel and banana along with some alcohol. The taste was sweeter than I expected. It started with caramel and toffee and then went into milk chocolate notes with roasty malts. The alcohol was definitely noticeable on this and a bit abrasive. It had a thick and chewy body with light carbonation. The finish was sticky and lengthy. This wasn’t an amazing beer, but one that went down very easily on a cold night.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Campanology For Whom

Tonight’s beer is from Trader Joe’s store brands that they contract brew. Let’s see how it was.

ABV: 10%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to, “There’s only one Waunakee in the world, and there’s only one brewery in Waunakee that could make a pineapple IPA for a nationwide chain of grocery stores. Having ‘Waunakee, WI’ on the side of the bottles of Campanology Brewing beer sold at Trader Joe’s 700-plus stores from coast to coast is a nice little bump on the national radar for a nice little suburb of Madison. Isaac Showaki, owner of Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, declined to confirm that his brewery was making the three Trader Joe’s-exclusive beers Campanology has released so far. But unless Lone Girl Brewing, Waunakee’s other brewery, scaled up quickly and added some impressive equipment, it’s a pretty easy deduction to make — even without the federal label approvals that list Octopi and Campanology on the same documents.”

Random: One of the guys I work with makes his own hot sauces and grows his own chilis in the Summer. Maybe next year I will get into that.

The beer poured with less than a finger of tan-colored head. It dissipated slowly, but only left some lacing on the side of the glass. The body was dark brown, almost black. I couldn’t see any carbonation through it. The nose was filled with roasted malt, cocoa powder, chili peppers and cinnamon. The taste started with dark chocolate and roasted malts with some smoke. The beer quickly showed notes of cinnamon and chili peppers that provided a pleasant, but not overwhelming heat. The body was on the thick side with moderate carbonation. The alcohol was present, but not overwhelming. The finish was sticky and lengthy with heat left over from the hot peppers. Since Val picked this up from Trader Joe’s, I’m not sure how much it was, but their beers are never expensive. It wasn’t the best beer I’ve had from the style, but was certainly solid. I would have this again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Campanology Harmony Foretold

Tonight’s selection is a beer from Trader Joe’s that Val bought for me.

ABV: 6%

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Trivia: According to the Madison Street Journal, “With several good-sized to huge contract brewers, Wisconsin is a bit of a hotbed for production of store-brand beers. And because of the brewers’ locations in relatively small towns — Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Octopi in Waunakee, Stevens Point Brewery — their Wisconsin origins are relatively plain because retailers rarely if ever secure the brewery permit required of an alt prop. In addition to the Campanology beers, two other Trader Joe’s house brands are made in Wisconsin: the Boatswain line of low-cost craft beers and the Simpler Times macro-style lagers are both made at Minhas in Monroe, according to federal label approvals. (Trader Joe’s has two other exclusive brands of craft beer: the Mission St. line, made in Salt Lake City, and Josephbrau, from San Jose, California. Campanology is the only house brand in bombers.) Nationwide mass merchandising giant Costco makes two of its Kirkland Signature store brands in Wisconsin: Standard macro-style lagers at Minhas under the name Regal Brau Brewing Co., and some craft-branded beers at Point under the name Bricks and Barley Brewing Co. ‘I think what’s cool is that everyone competes in a different niche,’ Showaki said. His shop specializes in high-end craft beer; Stevens Point Brewery contract-brews craft beers, some labeled for special occasions like weddings and birthdays; Minhas specializes in low-cost beers. Another big contract player in Wisconsin, City Brewing in the former Heileman brewery in La Crosse, is where to go if you need high volume — 1,000 barrels at a time, Showaki said.”

Random: TJ’s keeps putting out decent beer.

This beer poured with a three finger, pure white head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was slightly hazy and bright yellow. There was moderate carbonation visible. the nose was filled with wheat and cucumber. The taste was much of the same. It had some bright citrus and was quickly overtaken by cucumber. The body was on the light side with lots of carbonation. It had a quick finish with cucumber. I liked this beer, I just wish it had more depth.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Campanology Tintinnabulation

Val and I went to Colorado last year and it was really not what I expected. I have no problem with pot being legal, but I absolutely hate the smell of it. Pot was everywhere in Denver, literally everywhere. It was even coming into the car when we put the AC on and drove to the airport. Needless to say, Denver was not my favorite place. The mountains were absolutely beautiful, but it just wasn’t a place I’d want to go back. At least the beer was decent. Let’s talk about this one.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to, “The aromas of fruit salad and hops from this golden-colored India Pale Ale will ring your bell, not to mention its fresh, hoppy flavor that lacks excess bitterness, and delights with just a touch of pineapple.”

Random: This beer came in at 40 IBUs.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger, slightly off-white head. It took forever to dissipated and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was cloudy and straw yellow in color with moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with pineapple and wheat and nothing else. I expected some sort of hop presence and it was completely absent. The taste had old pineapple juice with syrup and a light pine cleaner note. The body was thin with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with old pineapple juice. I don’t recall how much this beer was, but we picked it up at Trader Joe’s. This was a complete miss for me.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0