I keep being sort of spellbound by Trader Joe's beer. I mean, having a store-branded beer is kind of rare in itself, yet here Trader Joe's has a wide selection of it, some brewed by established breweries, others by their own "JosephBrau".
I have no idea if JosephBrau only exists in name only or not, but their Stockyard Oatmeal Stout is very good. This is definitely not another Simpler Times Lager and for a buck a bottle, it's a great deal.
It pours a deep dark brown, though not quite black, with about a finger or so of tan head. Lacing and retention are good. The nose is quite pungent, with roasty notes and a delicate sweetness lingering in the back.
That roastiness carries over to the flavor, and dominates pretty heavily at that. Somewhere toward the back there's a bitter taste of chocolate alongside a sweet creaminess. In fact, the mouthfeel here is surprisingly creamy. I guess I had expected something thinner -- that tends to be the case with more generic stouts -- but this is one of the creamier ales I've had in a while. In that sense, the Stockyard lives well up to its oatmeal label.
There's no way around it, this is a very good ale. It's a steal for the price. You may or may not have your issues with Trader Joe's, but frankly, you should check Stockyard Oatmeal Stout out if you like good beer.
Vote for Trader Joe's Stockyard Oatmeal Stout: It’s your civic duty!