Goose Island® Beer Tasting & Dinner
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA MONDAY AUGUST 18, 2014 – Once every quarter of the business year, we host a beer tasting and dinner. Makes sense right? Some of you may be aware that we have these recurring beer dinner events, for others it might be news. In any event, we are really proud to offer these unique dinners for our guests to have the chance to taste beer and food together the way they were meant to be tasted.
We are in the middle of the most recent round of beer dinners, our Goose Island® Beer Tasting & Dinners. (Some are of these dinners aren’t scheduled to take place till next week! Check here if to see if there is one available near you: http://www.bjsrestaurants.com/beerdinners) These Goose Island Beer Tasting & Dinners have been, well, quite the hit! These beer dinners feature 8 craft beers (most of which are from Goose Island) and 4 delicious food courses from BJ’s menu. Need a little more detail? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I recently attended the Goose Island Beer Dinner at our restaurant in Huntington Beach. First, let me just illustrate to you how a beer dinner at BJ’s is orchestrated and how it makes you feel oh so VIP. When you check in for the dinner, you are lead back to a more private part of the restaurant and sat at a festively decorated table complete with fun little gifts such as key chain bottle openers and/or BJ’s Beer glasses. Bottles of the night’s beers are artfully arranged and displayed on tables, which slightly section off the beer dinner/your part of the restaurant. The way in which the beer dinner area is arranged really does make it feel like an event, and that can be really fun from time to time. And more importantly, as soon as you are sat, you are handed a taster of the 1st beer of the night, the warm up beer.
The warm up beer this night was 312 Urban Wheat Ale by Goose Island. The spicy aroma of the Cascade hops along with the crisp, fruity flavor and creamy body really was the perfect warm up beer. There was something exciting about drinking it as well as refreshing. It all at once got you ready for the tasty dinner both emotionally and palette wise. Once every guest had been sat and was enjoying their beer, the manager, Tim, kindly welcomed and thanked everyone for coming. He gave us a little background on how the night was to go, and then launched into a description of the 312 Urban Wheat Ale, including the ABV and IBU details. His description set us up for what to expect for the rest of the dinner: good beer, tasty food, AND beer education. Perfect for the beer enthusiast or person looking to become one!
After everyone had their warm up beer, Tim introduced the next beer and course as both were swiftly brought to our tables. The beer was Honker’s Ale, paired with our Fresh Watermelon and Feta Salad. This golden English-style bitter combined fruity hop aroma with rich malt that balanced perfectly the fresh, sweet and tangy flavors of the Watermelon and Feta Salad. A great first course, it subsided pressing hunger pangs without stuffing the stomach as to allow room for the ample dinner ahead.
We were then served our 1st palate cleanser; the 312 Urban Pale Ale, because at a beer dinner you need a break from food, but certainly not from beer! This Pale Ale from Goose Island is delicious. A pronounced, bright American hop aroma and a citrus flavor; it was a superb follow up to the previous course, and definitely an excellent palate cleanser.
As we all finished sipping the palate cleanser, Tim announced the arrival of our 2nd course, and it was definitely an exciting one: Rambler Red IPA paired with BJ’s Gourmet Five Meat Deep Dish Pizza. An IPA with a deep amber-red body that yields a good amount of sweetness to balance out the assertive Mt. Hood hops. The bold flavor of this beer played perfectly off the rich flavors of the Gourmet Five Meat Deep Dish Pizza which delivers both spicy and sweet notes, just as the beer does. This was probably my favorite course because I am a huge fan of all red-amber beers and a huge fan of deep dish pizza! I wanted a 2nd serving of both, but was able to resist in order to allow room for the rest of the dinner.
As our licked-clean pizza plates were whisked away, the 2nd palate cleanser was poured and served. Goose Island’s Sofie was a really fun beer as it possesses a spicy white pepper note, a hint of orange peel and a creamy vanilla finish. Goose Island describes Sofie as “an intriguing choice for champagne drinkers and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian saisons”. Well, I am very much a champagne drinker (can’t wait for the next wedding I am going to), and I found Sofie to be a good beer-equivalent to champagne.
On came course 3: Goose Island IPA with BJ’s Lemon Thyme Chicken. This was a terrific, substantial and fresh course. The traditional English-style IPA with its fruity aroma, offset by a dry malt middle and long hop finish paired superbly well with the zesty, bright flavors of the Lemon Thyme Chicken. The chicken was juicy and satisfying, all with the fresh flavors of the veggies that top the entire dish. As for the beer, I’ll be honest, I’m not usually the biggest fan of traditional IPA’s, but Goose Island IPA is really quite delicious!
At this point everyone was feeling pretty full, but there were still 2 more beers and another dish, and our taste buds and hop-conscious urged to continue on. And so, we did! Our next and last palate cleanser was a near and dear one: BJ’s® Studio Session IPA. We are really proud of this beer, our latest seasonal offering. BJ’s Studio Session IPA is as hoppy as a traditional IPA, but with a lower alcohol content and lighter body. It is an IPA you can really sip and savor a little bit more smoothly than your standard India Pale Ale. We are very excited to have this beer featured during these beer dinners.
Finally, we came to our last course. Tim introduced the strongest beer of the evening: Matilda by Goose Island. With 7.0% ABV, this beer packs a punch; wild in character with a slightly fruity aroma and a spicy yeast flavor that is unique and satisfying. It was a real treat when paired with our Peach and Candied Pecan Cobbler, rich with sweet peaches and crunchy pecans, a golden brown corn meal batter and of course, vanilla bean ice cream. The beer and the cobbler had all the notes that we needed to close out the night.
Tim and the staff thanked us kindly for coming out to the Goose Island Beer Tasting & Dinner. Everyone was so pleased with the dinner that there is a round of applause in celebration. And just like that, the beer dinner concluded. Actually, that’s not entirely true; most people had another pint of the Matilda and lounged! In any case, this beer dinner was not only filled with flavor, but fun as well. It’s exciting to have a different kind of dining/drinking experience than your average night out, it’s fun to come to a dinner that is a real event, taste all there is to offer, and maybe even learn a thing or 2 as well.
As previously stated, the Goose Island Beer Tasting & Dinners are still happening at some of our restaurants, so be sure to check the link at the top of the page to see if there is a dinner near you that you can attend. If you missed this beer dinner, fear not! We will be having our next round of beer dinners November 10-12 and November 17-19, featuring new releases for the holiday season! We hope to see you at future beer dinners, enjoying some of the simplest and greatest joys in life: good food and good beer.
Next: Field Day IPA™ 2014