BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse releases 2014 edition of Grand Cru

Today, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse released its holiday seasonal beer: Grand Cru. I admit that this blog has typically paid  little attention to what’s happening at BJ’s, but I’m exceptionally excited for winter seasonal beers this year and am as-of-yet unfamiliar with this one, so I’m happy to share this story and a video about the beer. Truth be told, I’ve never been to a BJ’s, but I hope to remedy that situation soon, and this beer gives me an excuse and an opportunity to do so.

It began back in 1999, as the 20th Century was winding to a close, the crew at BJ’s decided to brew a big, special beer befitting the new millennium. Having always revered Belgian-style beers, they decided to brew a very big, spiced, Belgian-style golden ale, the kind of beer for which the name Grand Cru is reserved.  This baby clocks in at 10 percent ABV. Ho ho ho!

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse has four locations in Washington: Redmond, South Center, Puyallup, and Tacoma. Also, there are three locations in Oregon: Portland (Jantzen Beach), Hillsboro, and Eugene. Beyond that, there are locations outside the Pacific Northwest.


Alex Puchner, the Senior VP of Brewing Operations at BJ’s, explains what’s behind the beer on the company’s website.

“Setting out to brew a best-in-class golden ale, we used a special Belgian yeast strain in the brewing process. Belgian yeast strains produce a lot of flavors during fermentation – fruity flavor compounds called esters or spicy flavor compounds called phenols. The Belgian yeast we brew with produces a good amount of both esters and phenols. In addition to this special Belgian yeast strain, we also spice the beer with bitter orange peel and coriander to contribute even more fruit and spice notes. All of these factors make for a layered beer, full of complexity and flavor.

“For the first 10 years after Grand Cru’s creation, we would tweak the recipe every year. About 5 years ago, however, we decided not to mess with the perfection and we went back to producing the original recipe for all of our restaurants. It was this recipe that went on to win medals at both the World Beer Cup and GABF, and it is this recipe that has come to be beloved by our guests.

“Although BJ’s Grand Cru was originally created to celebrate the New Year, it is the perfect complement to any holiday celebration. Which is why we have moved its release date up to Tuesday, November 11th, in advance of Thanksgiving. It’s an innocent looking beer with its golden hue and magnificent, creamy head, but it packs a punch at 10% ABV. It pairs perfectly with pretty much all the sweet and savory hearty foods that we love to indulge in around the holidays, including your Thanksgiving dinner.”

For more information about the beer, and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in general, visit the website at or find them on Facebook at

Cheers to our sponsors, like...