Tuesday, November 6, 2007

BJ's: Continuing to Impress

Yesterday was my last day in the office at HP, after nearly five years there. It was strange to leave, even if for a great job at DRAFT, I suppose it is supposed to be that way. Once my box and me were out of the office, it was quickly apparent a beer was in order (that and I was getting hungry), so I headed towards our local BJ's here in Roseville, California. I know I've written about these guys before, but it seems I am consistently surprised by the quality of their seasonal and guest beers (yes, I enjoy their standard lineup as well, but with so many beers in the world I simply enjoy discovering new beers more right now).

I started with a pint of Sierra Nevada's Harvest Ale, their wet-hopped gem of a beer. We've been enjoying this beer at various better beer joints around town, and this pint was no different - a great beer to enjoy.

Next up was a few samplings:
  • Pumpkin Ales are not my cup of tea, but I do feel compelled each year to try them. The BJ's version was very well done, not overly spiced and something I could see having a pint of, if I were enjoying a savory meal.
  • The Fullers Porter was a welcomed guest tap. If you're not aware, BJ's has a brewer exchange program with Fullers. In this program BJ's sends over one of their brewers while Fullers sends one of their brewers, all in an effort to share ideas and learn a bit more about how things are done across the pond.
  • The IPA on tap was not Owen's IPA, which many are used to by now. Instead, they were pouring the Irvington IPA and, holy cow, I can't properly tell you how easy this massively hopped beer was to enjoy. This, my beer loving friends, was a monster hopped beer, bigger than any IPA I've enjoyed at BJ's before. Light in color and with a medium body, they did a great job typifying the West Coast IPA. This was the only beer I would end up having two pints of, and I am working on getting back there soon for another.
I have yet to meet the newest of the new brewers at BJ's in Roseville. Their last guy, Will, didn't last long before he realized he had to move with family priorities. David Mathis has evidently been carrying a big load since just before GABF, a typically hard working brewer he is. I hear he was due for a few days off, I hope the guy found a way to take advantage of those.

  • Rubicon Brewing, in Sacramento, has put on their gold-medal winning Mountain Cherry and I was there to welcome it into my glass. Simply fantastic, no surprise how the GABF judges found it in their hearts to award this beer with a gold. Rumors have it they may be sending a five gallon keg to Toronado... which is a badge of honor of sorts I believe.
  • Sacramento Brewing is also continuing their impressive streak, now with their Imperial Red on tap. This is a massively hopped beer, and that may be putting it lightly, but in true 'red' fashion there is enough caramelized sweetness there to make this incredibly easy to drink. This Friday they will be tapping SN Harvest, and once that beer is gone he's got a few kegs lined up from a recent trip he took to San Diego. I won't spoil the surprise altogether, but I can tell you that you won't want to miss out when they go on, one at a time.
  • The Auburn Alehouse, with headbrewer Brian Ford, is set to tap their Isotope Imperial IPA (its weapon's grade!). We've been awaiting this beer's arrival for some time now, and if you're in the region you'll want to make sure you keep an eye out yourself.