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Beer We Go Again!

BJ’s beer fans, have we got something for you. Our next beer is a new one in our line of tried and true seasonal offerings. It is in the style of Belgian Abbey ale and its name is Abbey Normal. Those of you who are familiar with the movie “Young Frankenstein” will recognize where the name came from. But it is the beer that will make you want to sing.

Abbey beers cover a variety of Belgian styles. Mostly they are Dubbels and Trippels (that would be Doubles and Triples in English). Basically any beer made by a Trappist Monastic brewery or a brewery licensed by a Trappist monastery can be considered Abbey ale. Only the seven Trappist breweries in the world (6 in Belgium) may call their Abbey ales “Trappist Ales”. Abbey ale is a term associated with beer brewed by non-monastic breweries that mimic the Trappist style.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. Think in terms of Chimay, Westmalle and Orval as perhaps the most popular Trappist Abbey ales sold in the United States. All of these are beers that we offer in many of our restaurants.

I’m a bit of a stickler for the correct nomenclature so when it comes down to it Abbey Normal is Belgian Abbey “style” ale. I hate comparing BJ’s beer with beers by other manufactures but with this style you need to get a sense of the flavor profile to expect.

Abbey Normal could be considered a Dubbel not unlike Chimay Red or Westmalle Dubbel. It has a dark coppery color with a beautiful ruby tone when held up to the light. A fine aroma of dried fruits like black currants, figs and apricots  and perhaps a bit of caramel can be nosed from the creamy beige head that tops this newest of our seasonal beers.

This will be one of the better balanced ales you will ever come across. The mouth feel is smooth, creamy and almost silky with just the right amount of carbonation to titillate the tongue. The aroma comes through in the flavor. There is a pervasive spiciness, fruity with a gentle noble hop flavor and bitterness just enough to bring the sweetness to where it should be. Of course you will note the distinct but subtle yeast flavor that characterizes Belgian beers of this style.

We are very proud of this beer. From conception, through our Research and Development brewery in Chandler Arizona, to its production at our bigger brewery in Reno, we have nurtured this beer with all the TLC we could muster. Why? Well because it’s what we do. It is this passion that flows through our veins and presents itself in the art and science that is craft brewing.

When you taste Abbey Normal you’ll know exactly what I’m blogging about. You will taste the fervor of our passion through the richness in your glass; and it will tell you more at that moment than I could ever hope to write here.

And for those of you that like the vital statistics:
ABV:  6.6%
IBU:  20.5
SRM:  28.3 (color)
Hops:  German Magnum, Hallertau Tradition

We offer a wide selection of great Belgian and Belgian style beers at every one of our restaurants and I will tell you now that Abbey Normal Like our Grand Cru will fit right in with the best of them.

That’s enough for now, go grab a pint of Abbey Normal. That’s what I’m going to do.


Michael “Mufasa” Ferguson
Director of Brewery Operations
BJ’s Restaurants and Brewhouse

Prev: The Right Beer at the Right Time!

Next: Beer Logistics – Getting it to the Glass!

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