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BJ's British Beer Tasting and Dinner

                                                              

We at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse pride ourselves on our seasonal beer dinners which we host several times throughout the year. Each season we select a theme for a new beer dinner, choose the brews, and pair those brews with our own dishes to create an exceptional culinary experience. These events give our guests the unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy several craft beers paired with 5-courses of BJ’s delicious menu offerings in an interactive setting. These beer dinners are, as many describe, a real treat.

British-themed table layout for BJ’s beer tasting & dinner

These past couple of weeks our restaurants have been hosting our “British Beer Tasting & Dinner” events. These dinners featured ales and cider from Newcastle, Strongbow, Old Speckled Hen, Traquair, and of course, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. We felt that featuring a variety of ale styles from the United Kingdom would provide a nice, malty balance to our previous IPA Tasting and Dinner that we hosted in February and March.

Once you sat down at your British themed table, you were served a “warm-up beer”; a local British-style beer chosen by the General Manager, and also the host of the beer dinner. Really, the sooner you get some beer in your hand, the better.

The first course of the dinner was Newcastle Brown Ale with BJ’s famous Avocado Egg Rolls. This full-bodied golden brown ale with its nutty caramel flavor and smooth, silky finish paired perfectly with the sweet tamarind sauce that accompanies the Avocado Egg Rolls which are brilliantly concocted of avocados, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and other veggies in spices all wrapped in a crunchy eggroll, a definite fan favorite. Of course, Avocado Egg Rolls and Newcastle Brown Ale are pretty spectacular on their own anyway; brought together they are just magic. This pairing is an excellent example of both complementary and contrasting flavors. The sweet and nutty malt flavors complement and enhance the sweet tamarind sauce, while the beer’s fruity esters blend nicely with the fruity flavors of avocado and sundried tomatoes. For contrast, Newcastle’s malty sweetness balances the spicy chipotle peppers and cools your palate of any lingering spicy heat.

The second course was BJ’s new Asian Chopped Salad, a nice light, fresh salad that really was the perfect choice to pair with the next offering, actually a cider; Strongbow Honey Apple Cider. The bright sweetness of this new Strongbow cider mirrored the subtle sweetness of the Asian Chopped Salad’s honey ginger dressing. Even those who aren’t big cider fans found this cider and pairing rather enjoyable.

Third course was Newcastle Bombshell paired with one of our new Mediterranean Chicken Pita Tacos, which have become one of our most popular new menu items. Brewed at the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, Newcastle Bombshell is a refreshing seasonal pale ale with a hoppy flavor profile. Both the beer and the dish exhibit a complex array of flavors of equal strength. The dry acidity and earthy hop flavors of the beer blend nicely with the light and zesty Mediterranean Chicken Pita Taco: chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, feta, ride wine vinaigrette and Greek yogurt crema all in a fluffy pita. This taco was the perfect accompaniment to Newcastle Bombshell. At this point, you are already getting full, but the will to taste more keeps you going!

The fourth course was really the star of the beer dinner as this course introduced BJ’s newest seasonal beer: Hoppy Scotsman™. Hoppy Scotsman was birthed out of collaboration by us here at BJ’s and by the historic Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is a strong Scottish ale infused with American hops. The hops nicely balance out the rich malts of the ale and this balance definitely represents both the beer heritages of Scotland and America. Such a distinctive beer deserves to be paired with a distinctive dish. This beautiful, orange hued ale went divinely with BJ’s New Orleans Jambalaya. Here’s a good example of pairing bold with bold, and a great example of how well hoppy beers pair with spicy foods. The balanced spicy richness of the dish was enhanced by the big hoppy and malty flavors of this unique beer. If you are looking for a great meal and beer together, Hoppy Scotsman and New Orleans Jambalaya is the way to go.

As you can imagine, after the previous courses, a break from food is much needed. The beer, however, keeps on pouring with a “Palate Cleanser”. The palate cleanser was Old Speckled Hen. Toffee and malt combine with bitterness on the back of the tongue for a balanced sweetness followed by a refreshing dry finish. The rich yet refreshing nature of this beer was the best way to prepare for the final meal course; the dessert.

BJ’s PM Porter® headlined the fifth, dessert course. Caramel, molasses and chocolate flavors with a sweet start and roasted dry finish. PM Porter is a robust English-style porter that was the ultimate pairing to BJ’s Famous Chocolate Chunk Pizookie®. Everyone knows our Chocolate Chunk Pizookie, and with PM Porter is a really delicious dessert experience.

Finally, a last beer is served, you know, because you need another beer. Traquair House Ale served as the sort of night cap. This famous strong ale is brewed in the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, dating back to 1107 AD, when it was a hunting lodge for the kings of Scotland. It’s a deep reddish-amber Scotch ale with full, velvet-like body, medium dryness and earthy hint of peat character. It was a great way to settle the palate and close out the delicious evening.

All in all, BJ’s British Beer Tasting and Dinner was a delicious success that gave our guests and a wonderful sampling of traditional English and Scottish ales, and was a fantastic way to introduce the unique collaborative beer that is Hoppy Scotsman™.

Hoppy Scotsman Ale Scottish-American Collaboration Limited Release Label Art

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Next: BJ's Brewhouse Blonde® - American Craft Beer Week

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