Archive for September, 2010

BJ’s Brewhouse Blonde

Before we get to the review this week I would like to get your help with a project.  I want to make a list of Ventura County Venues (concerts, theaters, shopping) and the nearby watering holes. Go ahead and leave a post on  and let everyone know where you went and what kind of beer selection was available.

Also, be sure to check out the official location of Hop Head Said… for other nuggets of beer info updated weekly.

BJ’s Brewhouse Blonde®

Let me start straight off this review by saying that Kolsch is not even close to my beer favorite style.  I will almost always skip over these beers (generally at the top of a beer list) for the bolder tasting ones further down the list and so it was challenging for me to even pick this beer for a review.

I tried to clear my head of my previous prejudices towards this style and sat down with the beer and began my review routine:

  1. my notebook and pen to my right
  2. a clean glass, bottle of beer and opener to the left
  3. pop the top, enjoy the CO2 cloud escaping the bottle and start the pour down the side of the glass  until about half full then straight down the middle to raise the head.

It had a wonderful pour and a thick white head that did not die down releasing subtle hop aromas throughout the beer.  There is a slight hop bite making it a crisp drinkable beer and pushed the bitterness scale to the right.  Even though the IBU’s are quite low in beer the hop bitterness stands out more because there isn’t a lot of malt in this beer to balance them.

This beer is just outside of the IBU guidelines of a Kolsch.  It is much closer to its name (Brewhouse Blonde) which is 15-28.  In addition to the base grain, the grain bill included wheat malt and Vienna. Wheat malt can be added to increase head retention and add a light straw color.  Vienna malt is used to add a little extra body and add a little extra malt flavor.

If you are familiar with Kolsch or if it is one of your favorite styles this beer may be a bit disappointing.  It is much closer to the blonde ale style guidelines as its name implies rather than a Kolsch which is how BJ’s categorizes this beer.  If you are a bumiloors (Bud/Miller/Coors) drinker then this is a great “gateway beer” (a beer that seduces you to try other craft beers) for you.  Before you know it you will be skipping the top of the list just like me!


BJ’s Brewhouse Jeremiah Red

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

There will soon be over 100 BJ’s, all scattered across the country, with 50 locations in California. I visited the Oxnard location @ 461 Esplanade Drive/805.485.1124.

With at least 15 beers in their lineup you can bet that you will find a beer to enjoy. If you don’t want to taste ‘em all I will do my best to taste all their beers so you don’t have to.  It is a big project and it will take awhile but then again I am really thirsty and I am sure you are, too!  So let’s get started…

I only had time to stop in at the restaurant and picked up two six packs.  Usually I would sit down with my samplers and notepad but I just didn’t have the time to do so.  Also, I wanted to get this blog up and running. Unfortunately they do not mix their six packs and you cannot at your local grocery or liquor store. So if you want to sample a few different brews be prepared to sit and taste at the restaurant (which has great brewpub ambiance) or purchase a couple six packs to go.

My first review is BJ’s Jeremiah Red®

The crystal malt used in this recipe imparts a rich gold to copper-red color and caramel flavor and increases foam stability.  The Munich malt contributes an intense malt flavor and some color while the chocolate malt used in small quantities gave the beer a deep red/brown and just a hint of roasted flavor.  The Northern Brewer hops used added bitterness but not a lot of flavor and gave the beer an earthy aroma.

An introduction

Do you love beer?  I mean BEER, not the yellow-flavored-low-carb-diet-water so popular today. With that kind of attitude it is not surprising that some people have called me a beer snob.  Not to say that I haven’t ever had one of those, heck 15 years ago used to stock my fridge with the same fizzy-yellow-flavored-water.  However, if I was given the chance I would always try something new.  Back then these “new” beers taught me that beer could taste great and they had exotic names like Leinekugals, Henry Weinhard’s, and Guinness.  These beers taught me to expect more.

Back then I lived in South Dakota and I would stop at any grocery store or liquor store I could find when I traveled just to see what beer they had in stock.  If there was something there I had never seen before I would pick up a mixed sixer if possible.  It got to a point to where I had to remodel a basement closet into a walk-in beer cellar just to house the beer found on those trips.  But that wasn’t enough for me; I needed to log the beers I was drinking.  I would strip the labels off each bottle and they would then go into a beer scrapbook. Over 700 Iabels were nicely organized in several large binders.  The binders started taking up just a little too much space and it wasn’t a convenient reference system when I was on the road. So I made a spread sheet and logged them all in there.  All that work made me…THIRSTY.  As I was enjoying a cold one (poetic license here folks) I had a great idea! Why not write beer reviews.   I have tasted hundreds of different kinds of beer; I understand the basics of brewing and I can explain why the beer you are tasting tastes that way.  Maybe the most important reason, I enjoy sharing my opinions about beer.

So that is why I am writing beer review and why and I am grateful to , and  for giving me the opportunity to do so.