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BJ’s BREWMASTER’S RESERVE LINE

What’s our new Brewmaster’s Reserve line of beers all about? Our brewing team’s goal here is to introduce new beers that are based on some of our most popular signature beers.  But not that we’re trying to improve on them.  Our signature beers are already brewed to exacting standards with the highest quality malts and hops.  Rather the goal is to enhance the flavor profile of our signature beers, adding more intensity and complexity. We decided to start with “Reserve” versions of our two most popular signature beers – Jeremiah Red and Brewhouse Blonde. This quickly turned into an exciting project for our brewing team. After our first brainstorm, we realized that we were formulating new beers that represent just what we want to drink.  Higher gravity, more malt, more hops, fuller body, more depth of flavor, and the smoothest possible finish.  We sure liked the concept of sparing no expense to brew beers for our own enjoyment!  It was a no brainer to start calling these beers “Brewmaster’s Reserve”.

With the Reserve version of Jeremiah Red, we didn’t see much need to enhance the malt profile and body.  Jeremiah is already a full-bodied, malt accented red ale.  Hops, however, are not a big part of Jeremiah Red’s flavor profile.  So our hop-loving brewers agreed to formulate a hoppy red ale along the lines of what craft brewers call Imperial Red Ale.  For Brewmaster’s Reserve, we went with some of the best American aroma hops – Simcoe, Falconer’s Flight and Cascade.  On the malt side, we used an array of imported specialty malts similar to what we use in Jeremiah Red.  The end result is a deliciously well-balanced beer, intensely malty and hoppy at the same time.  Citrusy and floral hops combine with sweet, dark fruit malt flavors and alcoholic warmth. The hop bitterness in the finish is smooth and not too extreme, cleansing your palate before savoring the next sip. Could it be more obvious that I’m crazy about this beer?

Our brewing team opted for a somewhat different approach with the Reserve version of our Brewhouse Blonde.  We could have formulated a hoppier and higher gravity Kolsch-style beer, something of an “Imperial Kolsch”.  Instead, we focused on enhancing the malt profile to produce a beer in the style of a German Maibock or Helles Bock.  The April release date for our second Brewmaster’s Reserve beer is perfectly timed for this style, given that Maibock is a traditional style for the spring season in Germany.  But our primary motivation for brewing this style was that it’s very difficult to find good Maibock brewed in America.  We were determined to brew Maibock to German standards.  That requires 100% German ingredients – German pale malts, noble hops and lager yeast – plus many weeks of cold fermentation and maturation.  The resulting malt profile is delectable, with noble hops providing a subtle spicy aroma and a crisp finish.  Is Brewmaster’s Reserve Blonde Lager as good as authentic German Maibock?  Actually, I think ours is even better because it’s fresher.  

As I write this my birthday is approaching. You can be sure that I’ll be celebrating with all kinds of good beer.  And I can’t wait for my birthday dinner.  I’ll be with family and friends at my local BJ’s where they have both Brewmaster’s Reserve beers on tap.  I’ll have a glass Brewmaster’s Reserve Blonde Lager to start, paired with Crispy Calamari.  Then a glass of the Imperial Red with Baby Back Pork Ribs.  Happy Birthday to me!

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