Sunday, January 12, 2014

BJ’s Annual Grand Cru (10/10)

Being a fan of Belgian-style beers, I was immediately intrigued when I learned that BJ’s Brewhouse at Tuttle Crossing Mall had a Grand Cru ale on tap.  According to their web site, this beer was “First brewed to celebrate the new millennium” and “has been an annual tradition ever since.”

The official description says that “This strong Belgian-style ale is brewed with imported Belgian malts and some secret ingredients, resulting in a malty character with a whirlwind of fruit and spice flavors.”  The beer won the silver at the 2011 North American Beer Awards, at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival, and the 2000 World Beer Cup.  And now that I’ve had it, I can see why.
It pours a clear golden color with a thin white head that doesn’t last more than a few seconds. 

The aroma mixes bananas, cloves, other spices, and fruits.  It’s a very sweet aroma as well.

The flavor matches up to the aroma.  It starts fruity, sweet, and malty. This gives way to a groundswell of Belgian spice flavors, and finishes with a perfect mix of sweetness, malt, spice, and fruit.  It’s got to be one of the best American-made Belgian-style ales out there.  It’s better than some of the actual Belgian ales I’ve had.

The beer is only available at BJ’s restaurants during January and February, so be sure to get there while you can.  This is a great Belgian-style beer and one not to miss.  It’s available by the glass and by the growler.  Happy hour pricing is $4 for a glass.  A growler will set you back about $18.

Rate Beer gives BJ’s Grand Cru an 87 out of 100.  Beer Advocate gives it an 85.  I’m giving this one a full 10 out of 10.  It’s a really delicious beer.  It’s mildly sweet, has a great malt/spice/fruit balance, finishes clean, and unlike many craft beers these days, isn’t over-hopped.  It’s the best beer I’ve had at BJ’s to date, and one of the best American-made Belgian style beers you’re likely to encounter.

Flavor Profile:
Sweet, Malty, Dry, Bitter, or Sour: Sweet
Spice Level:  Moderate
Hops Level:  Extremely Low
Dominant Flavors: 
ABV: 10%
IBU:  11
My Rating:  10/10

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