Not Everything at Aldi is a Good Deal… Definitely Not Bad Bock!

A little behind on my writing. Sorry about that. Thought I’d get a quick note off that not everything at Aldi is a deal.

A couple of months back, I started shopping a bit at Aldi. Not to the exclusion of my favorite stores. Wish we still had a local grocer. Long gone, I’m afraid, all chain stores now except for the Asian and Latino markets I hit when I’m in the mood.

So, my experience with Aldi has all been positive until this week. A month ago I made the ultimate Aldi score, rack of lamb for $9.99 a pound. More than half of Winn-Dixie‘s and Publix‘ prices. It was delicious! I have a post started about it but have to finish it.

The tradeoff with Aldi is generally not price. Certainly, selection is a tradeoff. Instead of carrying a boatload of brands in a given commodity, they carry a few. Or one. But I’ve found their price on some things is better than BOGO-free at Winn-Dixie. Canned goods, condiments, cheese, packaged cold cuts, nuts… they’re all cheaper, and until today they’ve been at great quality.

So what went wrong? Well, I was foraging there and thought I saw a whole display of Spoetzel Brewing’s Shiner Bock, one of my most favorite beers. I picked up a six pack to put in the cart and then noticed something a bit off. Like the Shiner logo. Right colors, right fonts, right labeling… just noticed the logo was wrong. And then it hit me… Aldi’s Belgian supplier, Brouwerij Martens NV, has made an incredibly authentic-looking knockoff of Shiner Bock. What kind of crap is that? Stealing Shiner’s identity is not cool!

But the beer was in the cart, and I figured I’d try it. Big mistake. First, at $6.99 a sixer its only about a buck cheaper then Shiner (if you can find it in the grocery store). Second, the beer, marketed as a Bock, like Shiner’s, is, well… crappy! Tastes like beer flavored water. None of the bock flavor in Shiner, that’s for sure.

Just to make sure it isn’t me I checked Beer Advocate, one of my favorite resources for finding new beers and checking them for reviews. And, the reviews for Broegel Bock Beer are expectedly poor. What surprised me, though, was a fair to middling rating for Shiner.

Life is too short to drink bad beer. But I got what I wanted out of it, a comparison against the real thing. My impression… I think its schiester-y to knock off the real beer’s look and feel in bottling and packaging. And the beer wasn’t at all good!

Enjoy!

Chris Church
The Suburban Forager