State Line Amber Ale
12 oz single, $1.00, 5% ABV
Bought at Trader Joe’s, West Hartford
I could get all lazy on you and simply embed a link to my review of Cottrell’s Old Yankee Ale. Because this is Cottrell’s Old Yankee Ale in a different outfit.
Holy crap, I gave Old Yankee an A-? Oh, young Steve. So silly. So what are you going to think when you get to the bottom of my ramblings and I rate this one an A+? Especially after I explain how this is hardly an A+ brew?
If you’re confused, the State Line imprint is used by Trader Joe’s stores in Connecticut – and probably Rhode Island and Massachusetts and who knows where else – for Cottrell’s flagship beers. Now, do I know with absolute certainty that the amber and the IPA with State Line labels are the same exact beer in the Old Yankee and Mystic Bridge bottles?
I don’t. I’m just edumacated guessing. But really, you’re Cottrell owner and brewmaster Charlie Buffum down there in Pawcatuck and some Trader Joe’s rep in his Hawaiian shirt shows up and says, are you willing to contract brew some beer that we want to sell for ridiculously low prices? And you think about it and agree that your flagship ales are solid and not off-putting or wacky so you see why they came to you – plus you used to do some imprint beers for Mohegan Sun and all – so you know you can handle it.
But a dollar a bottle? So you think about it some more.
You have the recipes for a successful amber and a successful IPA, and you can make them with your eyes closed, so why in the world would you change it up for the Trader Joe’s amber or IPA? I can’t imagine you would. So you agree to do it, probably making like 10 cents a bottle or so, but it’s TJ’s and they move a lot of merch, so you are okay with it.
(Though the floofy head of the Old Yankee here was gone in the State Line version. Hmmmmmm…)
But what happens when some jerk who writes overlong and oftentimes nonsensical beer “reviews” writes, “Hey! If you live near a TJ’s, you can get decent Connecticut craft beer for dollar a bottle! And it’s Cottrell’s flagship beer!”
Well, Mr. Buffum, take solace in the fact that the 3 people who are reading this page are alcoholics who will forget everything they read here in the morning.
Overall Rating: A+ (Christ, it’s a DOLLAR.)
Rating vs. Similar style: C