The missus and I stopped by Trader Joe’s last Saturday while we were out running errands. Since Lisa had a few specific things that she wanted to pick up, I just kind of roamed the beer aisle while she went about her business. While there, I spotted a can of something called “Simpler Times Lager”. A single can only cost 67¢ (a full sixer will only set you back $3.99). So then I figured, “What the hell… it’s only 67¢!”
So… how is it? It’s… decent. It’s a lager, obviously. It’s got an appealing taste that hints at good drinkability, even if the head’s a little wimpy. It tastes light enough to be a barbeque beer, but it also has a touch of a stronger lager’s heft. In short, Simpler Times tastes a bit like what I’d imagine Pabst or Schlitz first tasted like back in the 1840s: a hardcore German lager lightened up a tad for the American market (as opposed to Budwesier or Coors, which is German lager that’s been lightened up a lot). Simpler Times won’t become the 2 Buck Chuck of the beer world, but it’s far better than Budweiser or Coors, in my (not so) humble opinion.
I checked out a few beer review sites, where Simpler Times was ravaged as “piss-poor swill”; that’s almost a “badge of honor” in my book, since I actually hate beer review sites. There’s just something so elitist about them. Just as many “foodie” websites look down their collective noses at any “unwashed prole” that would deign to eat Kraft Mac and Cheese instead of growing their own wheat to make their own pasta to coat in a sauce made from imported, $35.99/pound cheese, I feel that these beer sites are skewed towards the beer snob that won’t drink anything that doesn’t come directly from Bavaria.
But these review sites do make one good point, and that is this: although Simpler Times might be a decent beer, it’s only sold at Trader Joes. Which means that, for many people (assuming they even have a Trader Joe’s near them at all), buying a sixer of Simpler Times means driving 20 minutes to get to a Trader Joes… and passing countless convenience stores on the way that sell Pabst or Schlitz. So while I like Simpler Times, I just don’t see where I’d buy it that often. If I woke on a football Sunday and found that I had no beer, I’d rather drive to my local quickie mart to get a sixer of PBR than make the hour-long round trip journey to get Simpler Times. Don’t get me wrong – if Lisa called to say that she was stopping by TJs on the way home from work, I’d love me some Simpler Times… I just don’t think I’d go out of my way to get it, especially not when there are a dozen places to buy something nearly as good here in Belmont.