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.
BJ's Goliath™ Imperial Red Ale
Years ago, the Four Peaks Brewing Company in Arizona issued a challenge to all the breweries participating in the Arizona Craft Beer Week: brew a red ale with 20 SRM in color, original gravity of 20 Plato, and hop bitterness of 80 IBU’s. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse was among the participants, and our brewing team was eager to take on the challenge. Once we put our minds to it, we nailed it! Our red ale came the closest to the specs laid down by the Four Peaks Brewing Company, and created a great amount of buzz among all those who tasted it. With so many craft beer enthusiasts raving about this new champion of an ale, we decided to bring it back the next year. And thus, BJ’s Goliath™ Imperial Red Ale was born.
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Green Beer and Keeping it Real
St Patrick’s Day is a day in America where everyone becomes Irish. It can be argued that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated here in the U.S. more than it is in Ireland. In the U.S. it is quite common to enjoy a pint, or several pints, of green beer on St. Patrick's Day. Why? Ireland is sometimes known as the Emerald Isle because it is richly green. Beyond that there is an old tradition known as “drown the shamrock” where a shamrock leaf is dropped into a shot of whiskey. It was believed that the 3 leaves of the shamrock represented the holy trinity. Some say that gave the whiskey a green tint but it is more likely due to the light reflecting off the shamrock.
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IPA Beer Tasting & Dinner Preview
If you haven’t been to a beer tasting and dinner at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, then you have seriously been missing out! A five course dinner paired with selections of various craft beers? What could be better, right!? Lucky for you, our next round of beer dinners are swiftly approaching at the beginning of March, offering you a new chance to sit down and be spoiled with craft beers and delicious dishes! Before we move on, keep in mind that these beer dinners sell out fast so you’ll want to make your reservations now!
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BJ's Abbey Normal® - The First Beer in the BJ's Seaonal 2014 Series
For those of you who don’t know, monks across Europe were rather fond of gathering up their malts and hops and putting on a good brew in addition to their monastery duties. And they were good at it; their “Abbey Ales” became greatly treasured throughout Europe. The Trappist Monks of Westmalle Abbey in Belgium began brewing a style of ale known as “Dubbel,” or Double Ale, a few hundred years ago. This light brown ale soon became one of the most popular styles of the Abbey Ales, so popular that it has been continually brewed throughout the ages! Sounds epic, right?
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The Birth Of Nit Wit
Nine years ago I hired an assistant brewer named Melissa Phillips here at BJ’s Brewery in Chandler. She was a very astute and learned at a rapid pace. As an avid home brewer, Melissa was always ready to create her own recipes once we felt comfortable with her abilities. She really wanted to add a Belgian Witbier to our lineup, which was a beer style that we had been considering as a summer seasonal. When we gave her the go ahead, Melissa gave it her all. The first batch was really good but after tasting it together we agreed that it needed some fine-tuning to be true to the traditional Witbier style. We made some adjustments and re-brewed it. We named the beer Nit Wit after her boss (me). This second batch was entered into the 2004 Great American Beer Festival and was awarded a Gold Medal in Belgian-style Wheat Beers! Winning any medal at GABF is difficult enough. For a rookie brewer to earn a Gold Medal is a rare accomplishment.
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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”.
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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.
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Beer Logistics – Getting it to the Glass!
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.
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