Saturday, June 23, 2012

BJ's Restaurant Steakhouse Quick Hits

First time here at BJs Brewhouse and I'm going to sample some brews. I actually wrote these mini reviews while at the restaurant (gotta love smartphone technology). Got a few funny looks from other patrons because I was taking photos of my food and drinks, but when we told our waitress, Laura (who did a great job, by the way), she thought beer blogging was cool. Anyway, everything written in regular type was written that night, whereas everything in italics was added later at home on the computer.

Click to see full-sized,
or go to their site to read more.
My first choice was not an easy one, as there were 9 custom beers on the menu, nicely arranged in order from light-to-dark. There were so many tempting beers to choose from, but I decided to go in the middle of the pack and start with a full pint of Irish Red.

While waiting for the beer to arrive, my wife and I perused the menu and were surprised at the variety they offered. Our server said they were famous for their gourmet pizzas, but we weren't in the mood for that right then. We'd had Italian recently, so decided to venture into new territory. I actually went far astray and ordered the Jambalaya. I typically don't order this out, as I find that it too often has mediocre ingredients and that the shrimp isn't cleaned very well. Also, in most restaurants, they wimp out on the spice and I wind up adding so much Tabasco that it dominates all the other flavors. But I was feeling adventurous that night and took a risk. My wife ordered a pasta/chicken/broccoli dish -- she and I do not have the same taste in food or drink when it comes to spice or beer. She doesn't like much spice and hates the taste of beer (although she does like the way it smells).

Our meals ordered, I sat back to enjoy my first beer of the evening. At only $5.25 a glass, this could be a very hazy but enjoyable evening out.

Jeremiah Red Irish style ale
Beautiful how are not too much lace (but what there is clings impressively to the glass). Nice sharp to tang with wonderful undercurrents of citrus. When it got a little warmer it's a rid of a wonderfully with my jambalaya.
My score: 7.5 out of 10.

I'm very glad I started with a full pint (actually, it was probably closer to 14 ounces), but I was really there to sample, not drink. So I asked the waitress and had a sampler -- which, by the way, gives you a lot more beer for your money! I could mix and match any beers I wanted, so I took the bottom three from the menu (those at the dark en), and then skipped up one to the Piranha Pale Ale. I skipped up because the Jeremiah Red was in the fourth slot from the bottom and the fifth slot was the new Hopstorm IPA. As you will recall, I don't love IPAs.  

Did a taster of four beers for $6.95.

They brought out my sampler in this cool
little wire rack. My wife insisted I get a photo of it.
Piranha Pale Ale
Not bad. The hops weren't overpowering - a decent lace! The citrus notes are good and come out when the beer warms. Surprisingly strong lace... wonder what the ABV is? A good summer beer. I should have kept some back to see if it was better at a warmer temperature.
My score: 6 out of 10

Nutty Brwnette
Wow, this is a good brown ale. They were not lying about the addition of the hops. This is a really good English-style brown ale that was a nice tang. I think it will be better warm I am holding some back to drink in a few minutes. I let it sit for about 10 minutes before returning to the bottom third of the glass. I was right, the hops came alive at a warmer temperature -- I think its sweet spot is around 50-55 degrees.
My score: 6.5ish
When it's warmer I raised it to 7

P.M. Porter
Silky smooth like I am being wrapped in a blanket of malty goodness. This would be the perfect beer to curl up beneath a warm blanket with and watch Godzilla movies on a cold winter's night. I will revisit this beer in the fall and winter. Stunning lace and an incredibly smooth malty finish. This really reminds me of Murphy's Ale and has nice undercurrents of yeast playing hide-n-seek with the malt.
My winter score: 8.5
My summer score is 7

Tatonka. Stout
This could be a worthy companion to Guinness, as it is strong enough to be confused with dark matter. This is very similar to P.M. Porter, but it has a slightly stronger signature of hops. Another winner for a cold winter's night. Of course, I would rather snuggle up with my sexy wife, but why can't I have both?
My Score: 8.0

I really like everything tonight. I SHALL RETURN!

Jambalaya, me oh my-o!

The food definitely warrants another mention, as my jambalaya was actually spicy enough that I did not need to add hot sauce to it! This is such a rare occasion that it really warrants mentioning. I grew up in El Paso where my spice tastes are considered to be medium.Out here in South Texas, I'm considered to be the King of Heat!

I had a great time (did I mention this was my early  birthday dinner?). The atmosphere was relaxed, I enjoyed five new beers, and my wife and I had a great time.  

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: I didn't include any of these beers in my numbered reviews because you cannot buy these beers in bottles or (at least in Texas) take any home with you. For that reason, I decided to keep these separate from my "normal" reviews.


  1. Like you, I loved the Porter, got that the second time I was there. But I liked the Red also, and that sort of surprised me because I had drank red beers before at small breweries and didn't care for them.

    I recommend their pseudo-lasagna dish, don't remember what it was called, or just a good hamburger.

  2. We really enjoyed the food and the beer. It's really sad that we hadn't been there before, as they are only about a mile from our house!

    I think I saw that Lasagna dish you described and I did consider it.