I Tried Trader Joe’s New Beer-Infused Bread and Here’s How It Went

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Elisabeth Sherman)

Confession: I am intimidated by the idea of making bread — it’s a delicate process that takes some skill. Thankfully, there are mixes out there to make bread-making easier for novices like myself, and Trader Joe’s stocks some of the most intriguing variations, including this new wonderful-sounding beer bread. Yes, beer bread. And it’s only $3. In this mix, a carbonated beverage like beer or sparkling water is added to make the dough light and airy.

I was intrigued by the idea of adding a full can of beer to bread dough. Would it add an extra dimension of flavor or would it be too boozy? I recently baked it myself to find out.

(Image credit: Elisabeth Sherman)

According to Trader Joe’s, you can add jalapeños and cheddar cheese if you want to take this bread to the next level, which of course I did. The box doesn’t specify what type of beer works best, so I picked a can of Peak Brewing IPA at random and crossed my fingers.

Happily, the baking process is super simple: First you add your beer, and then the boxed mix to your mixing bowl. Stir that slowly until it becomes just moist — you don’t want to overwork it. If you want to add in the cheese and sliced peppers for a kick, you can fold them in once the dough comes together. We like things spicy in our house, so I sliced an entire jalapeño and added it to the mix. After slicing the pepper, grating the cheese, and melting the butter (which you then pour over the dough once it’s in your loaf pan), the process took just about an hour (not including bake time, which is another hour). My stand mixer did most of the work, honestly.

Drum Roll: The Results

Now onto the taste: Because of that butter you pour over the top, this bread gets a nice crunchy, browned crust on top. The texture is nicely aerated by the beer, which makes it not too dense. Of course, my version was spicy — perhaps too much so for some, so if you decide to add jalapeños be more cautious than I was. I didn’t taste the cheddar cheese as much, but the beer had a distinct presence. However without those additions, I think the bread would be too bland to be quite as enjoyable.

If you’re a dedicated beer drinker, this bread would make a welcome addition to a Super Bowl party, or any other sports-related functions you have scheduled. But it’s also a rich snack that would go great with a cup of tea or coffee on a chilly afternoon.