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JUNE/JULY 2005 | REGIONAL | WEST COAST

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery Opens In Roseville
By John W. Ostrom

The variety of locally crafted beer in the Sacramento region just took another leap forward with the April opening of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery in Roseville. The rapidly expanding BJ’s Restaurant chain chose this growing community for its 38th restaurant and 11th brewery, bringing together BJ’s strong food menu and attractive family-friendly restaurant with a 30-barrel regional brewhouse.

Busy bar staff at the April 23 opening. Photo by Brook Ostrom

The brewery opens quickly on the heels of a new BJ’s restaurant-only location in nearby Folsom, which will get its draft products from the Roseville brewery. As the only Northern California brewery location, Roseville will also supply the San Jose and Cupertino restaurants.

For the uninitiated, the first impression of BJ’s is that everything is generously proportioned: the high-ceilinged dining room, the oversized artwork, the dinner servings and the extensive beer selection with styles that tend toward big flavors and high starting gravities.

Like the menu and the architectural style, the beers are standard across the company’s various breweries. The lightest selections are the Brewhouse Blonde, a crisp kolsch-style ale (4.5% abv), and the Harvest Hefeweizen, an unfiltered wheat beer with a true weizen character (4.8% abv). The Piranha Pale Ale (5.5% abv) has a strong aroma and flavor of Cascade hops, which also characterizes two of the available specialty brews, the dry-hopped Owen’s IPA and Double IPA.

A standout in the beer line is the Jeremiah Red, a strong ale (7.3% abv) with the appealingly aromatic character of Belgian malts. The flavor of this beer is only intensified in the massive Goliath barley wine, essentially a much larger version of the Jeremiah Red that manages to be rich without becoming cloying. Rounding out the beer selection is the Nutty Brewnette brown ale (5.4% abv), the big PM Porter (5.7% abv) and the Tatonka Stout, an Imperial-style stout that weighs in at 8.3% abv. For the brewery opening, the beer selections also included BJ’s own cider.

BJ’s commitment to great beer is evident not only in the quality of its own products, but also in the selection of guest brews offered.

Head brewer Andy Armstrong comes to Roseville from Portland, where he brewed at BJ’s Jantzen Beach location. He was joined at the April 23 opening by Northern California Regional Brewmaster David Mathis and Senior Vice President of Brewing Operations Alex Puchner, a former homebrewer who has put both his MBA and homebrewing talent to good use.

The commitment of BJ’s brewing staff to great beer is evident not only in the quality of their own products, but also in the selection of guest brews they offer. Tipping off the preference of most of the brewers for Belgian ales, the Roseville location has Dupont Moinette Blonde and Lindemans Framboise on draft, along with the Sierra Nevada Pale Bock and the local Beermann’s Barley-wine Ale.

BJ’s is particularly well-known for its deep-dish pizza, but the menu includes a wide selection of salads, hamburgers and sandwiches, pastas, giant stuffed potatoes and such classic entries as Baby Back Pork Ribs and New York Steak. Come with an appetite, because a serving is often enough to be a meal for several people.

With the new brewery and restaurant completely up and running, new events and beers are under consideration, including cask-conditioned ales on Thursdays starting in June and some seasonal beers throughout the year. More than just another successful restaurant chain, BJ’s is already making good on its commitment to be an active part of the brewing scene in the Sacramento area.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
1200 Roseville Pkwy.
Roseville, CA 95678
916-580-2100

John W. "Brook" Ostrom is an associate editor of the Celebrator Beer News. He is a national beer judge and an award-winning homebrewer living in Davis, Calif.

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