BJ’s

Went to BJ’s the other night because I’ve been driving by it for quite some time now and never stopped in. Also, I’d been to their LA establishments and had a good time. So, I cruised on over with a coupla friends. We got a taster selection of the brews, and I quite enjoyed several of them. The blonde was light and fresh, the amber was pretty good, the pale very hoppy, perhaps a bit much…but the IPA was very nice. The stout and porter were both thick and rich. The pizza was pretty good, not spectacular, but enjoyable, and I can see how it’d be really good when they hit the sweet spot. They were not particularly busy, I think that they are having difficulty deciding what they want to be, or at least creating the perceptions they want (or I think they need!). Are they a pizza restaurant (ala Flying Pie) or a Brewhouse (ala Bridgeport NW)? While they are pretty good at both, they are weak in identifying themselves. The locations I’d visited in LA both carried more of a bar feeling, and were well-populated. But then, they don’t really have the brewpubs down there like we have here. So, overall, BJs is a good place, they could improve on a few things, mostly the environment…the wait staff was almost too friendly, like TGIFriday’s or something. Oh, and I confirmed that they make their beers onsite, or at their Janszen Beach location, so they qualify as a microbrewery in my world. Cheers, it’s off to the Rabbit Hole (fantastic sweet potatoe fries) tonite to see my buddies’s band play, Corner Office Suicide. 9pm if yer curious.

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    My Lady and I visited BJ’s for happy hour before heading to a Blazer’s game a few weeks ago. We opted for pints, given the HH discount, and were quite pleased. I had the “Bad, bad, Leroy Brown” ale, and the “Tatonka” imperial stout. Both were tasty, but the “Leroy” was particularly drinkable and accompanied the buffalo wings nicely. Word of advice: they drizzle ranch directly on the wings, so if you are not a fan of white creamy dressings, order it sans ranch!

    My Lady had a few pints of the hefeweizen, which was actually very good. Heady, and almost creamy with a very fruity finish – this was a hefe that just cries to be sipped on the patio on a sunny afternoon.

    As far as the digs themselves, I think BJ’s is lacking a lot. The walls have that artificial “hometown” feel more suited to an Applebee’s or TGI Fridays, than a true brew pub; especially one with such a nice selection of beers. THe cheesy ’80’s B/W photos in the bathrooms (cindy crawford-esque chick on all fours by a car in the mens’ room, shirtless beefcake in the ladies’ room) were right on the edge of campy, but the almost painted on brick seemed like it was trying to hard.

    Not a bad place, and the beers and HH specials are good enough for me to head back there if in the neighborhood.

    Anyone know if BJ’s is in some way affiliated with Rock Bottom Brewery downtown? The similarities in the style and design of their menus is uncanny.