Beer is a big part of who we are at BJ’s, and each month our talented team of brewers will share their thoughts and insights into the wonderful world of beer in What’s Brewing at BJ’s.
Alex Puchner | April 9th, 2013
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”.
BJ’s Brewing Team and many American craft brewers are inspired by the creativity, variety and flavor intensity of Belgian beers. We brew beers big and complex in flavor, but in many ways the flavor profiles of American-style craft beers and traditional Belgian ales couldn’t be more different. American brewers are inclined to brew with copious amounts of American-grown hops to contribute a citrusy or piney aroma characteristic and a pronounced bitter finish. In contrast, Belgian-style beers are generally mild in hop aroma and bitterness. Belgian brewers tend to rely more on fermentation-derived flavors that contribute all kinds of fruity and spicy notes.
Around 100-150 years ago, finding a craft beer in the United States was relatively easy – with thousands of thriving breweries, it was a simple matter to head to your local and have a pint or two, then head home. The downside? Finding a great craft beer could be a little harder.
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.
All you beer fans will be happy to know that we are currently serving our late winter seasonal brew Oasis Amber in our restaurants. This wonderful American Amber Ale was introduced in 2010 and is already proving to be a favorite among our guests.
A quick check of Webster’s reveals that the phrase “Grand Cru” has many connotations, such as “first harvest” or “estate reserve.” In wine circles it can be thought of as a synonym for “Our Best.” At BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse we think of Grand Cru as our annual celebration of beer that epitomizes everything about brewing at BJ’s.
Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale: A Beer for Every Season
Oktoberfest is not just some big party in Munich, Germany; it is a tradition steeped in rich history and lore. It’s also a really big party held during the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October for the 6 million people who attend each year. It’s the most famous event in Germany, and it just might be the biggest fair in the world. The original Oktoberfest on October 18, 1810 was the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and the Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
BJ’s Handcrafted Beer was first introduced when our Brea, CA restaurant opened in 1996 and we continue to take great pride in the unique, award-winning craft beers that we create for our guests.
The BJ’s beer story is a pretty amazing one and I’m proud to be a part of it. When I started working with BJ’s, they operated just eight little restaurants specializing in deep dish pizza. The craft beer movement inspired the owners to pair BJ’s Pizza with BJ’s own Handcrafted Beers. BJ’s first brewery was sized to supply the surrounding restaurants with beer, so we developed a “hub & spoke” brewing model that has been a key strategy for growth over the years. Centralizing our brewing operations is cost-effective, and the biggest advantage from my perspective is quality control. Today we have grown to 98 restaurants across the country! Although we’re a big restaurant company now and my job has changed radically from the days when I brewed beer on a daily basis, I can honestly say that I am more passionate than ever about being a craft brewer. What excites me most is research & development. We’re always looking for more variety in our beer offerings and new beer experiences for our guests.
The beers served at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse are made with the finest domestic and imported ingredients to ensure the best tasting brews around. I hope you find our beers to be as fresh and flavorful as I do. Enjoy!