I have seen BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery around ever since I first moved down to Los Angeles and then when I went to visit home, I saw that they opened one in my hometown. Kick ass, right? I mean, another brewery, even if it is a chain taking residence and spreading the love of craft beer to the masses. What more could one ask for?
So, not going to lie. I totally thought this place was going to be like Sam Adams. If we have ever talked about beer, you would know that I call Sams the BMC of craft. Oh Boy was I wrong.
BJ’s is actually a pretty decent brewery. Those who have came before me said I should start with their Jeremiah Red and that they did not do tasters so go from there. I asked our waitress, Elena, such an awesome woman who actually appreciates beer and was able to talk to us about everything on the menu and her favorite commercially available beers, IPAs. Green Flash West Coast was actually what she said to be her favorite. That just made the night so much better because she did not look like a beer drinker at all… okay, lost my train of thought… I asked her for tasters, yeah, that’s where I was. She told me Hell to the Score Yeah!
I started form the bottom of the list and tried everything that they had available. I even had a few non/new craft drinkers with me to experience these beers and they are starting to realize what we all love about this drink and realizing it is not just used to get drunk.
The first set of brews were the; Lightswitch Lager, Brewhouse Blonde, Harvest Hefeweizen, and the Piranha Pale Ale. Things started off as I totally expected, as I said earlier. The Lightswitch Lager was a bit grainy and I thought it to be a nice lawnmower beer, though quite refreshing. Not really what I look for in a lager but it was not bad in the least bit. Just about average.
The Brewhouse Blonde was very pleasant, sweet, and had a nice, mellow hop flavor. I didn’t find much more about this one to like but it was good none the less. At this point I was not regretting coming here for beer but still, just living up to my expectations and I could not wait to get done with these first 4 to get to the much anticipated red. Harvest Hefeweizen. A very mellow spiciness on top of a lemon citrus and it had a semi sour finish.
Piranha Pale Ale. This is when we started getting into their tasty beer in my opinion. I would call this a well made pale ale. The bitterness was nice throughout, it was not overpowering the flavor of the cascade hops was completely delicious. A very great example of the style. This is the point, too, where I ordered my second set of 4 beers… They had a new beer on the menu as well. I do not know how new, or if it is a seasonal or anything. Questions like these are the ones I should ask when I am sitting around. But I failed to do so… too bad.
Hop Storm IPA: Again, BJs did really good with brewing a beer style that is overdone. This beer was really balanced and smooth. It uses 6 varieties of hops and it had a ton of the hop flavor. It was more like an explosion, but it was not a hop bomb. I overall thought this to be a very good IPA.
Jeremiah Red. This is the beer that everyone told me to start with. They said this was the best of their whole line up and everything else falls short compared to it. I thought it was good, but did not agree it was the best. Jeremiah Red had a nice malt backbone with toffee sitting up front and a nice, mellow, sweetness. There was a lot of great flavor to this beer. This was one of the better beers here, but not the best.
Nutty Brewnette was very toasty and the hazelnut was all throughout this beer. It had a sharp finish and a lasting flavor. Good brown ale.
PM Porter. What does the PM stand for? I have no idea… I thought I did at one point but meh, not important I guess. One of the better porters I’ve had that was not already one of my favorites. Caramel and Chocolate fighting with each other for dominance, very robust, dark malts bite the tongue. Beers that drink like this are what makes Porter one of my favorite styles.
As we are about to head out, Elena decides to bring me the last beer in their lineup. The Tatonka Stout. When she brought it to the table, watching the head flow from the bottom to the top just got me really excited about this stout before I was even able to smell it. This stout reminded me a lot of coffee. From the flavor, to the creaminess, the roasty-ness, and how burnt it was. A great beer to finish the night out with and my first time ever at BJs.
This place really impressed me. I guess I came in not expecting too much but I left wishing I could have taken a few of these home. At least I know this restaurant/brewery is everywhere so I can get back to it if I ever felt the need.