BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse
1414 Polaris Pkwy
Visited on December 28, 2010
BJs is a big national brewing chain, akin to Rock Bottom or RAM, but somehow of even lesser quality. Nothing much sticks out about my visit. I remember pretty tacky decorations with giant murals of supposed ingredient harvesting and giant chandeliers. I don’t recall a single beer. I think I ate a giant cookie pizza for dessert, and that might have been the best part of the experience.
Although now that I’m thinking about it, it might have been terrible as well. Let’s find out.
Maybe I’ve just predisposed myself into not liking giant chain breweries, but walking into BJ’s is exactly what I expected. The giant murals on the walls featuring paintings of workers harvesting barley and otherwise doing beer-related work were just way overdone. The place tries to be a nice, upscale restaurant, but the menu screams brewpub. I just think it tries to be something it’s not, and tries way too hard.
Anyways, I found the building to be too commercial, too predictable and too overstated. I hate places that have no identity of their own, so just go the typical mega-chain route.
As for the food, the menu is what you’d expect: gigantic with something for everyone but nothing that’s truly special. They say their deep dish pizzas are their specialty, but the chain isn’t from Chicago, so I don’t know how that works. I tried their signature BJ’s Favorite stuffed with oven-baked meatballs, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, white onions and seasoned tomatoes. It’s basically a heart attack in a crust, and thus pretty delicious, but again nothing special.
Their beers were decent. The lighter selections were a bit thin and unhopped for my liking, but they were certainly drinkable. Their Pale ale was probably my favorite, it utilized my favorite hops – Cascade – for the dry-hopping and it had a very nice floral flavor profile. The red was sweet. The porter and stout were perfectly drinkable, if uninspired.
Moving on to dessert, I tried the Pizookie Trio, which is basically three small cookies baked inside pizza pie pans and decked out in ice cream and toppings. I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut (extremely rich), the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut (extremely good) and the Triple Chocolate. The last was my favorite.