NEW BEER: BJ’s Hoppy Scotsman Ale

My wife and I visited our local BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Folsom for a bite to eat and to try the new Hoppy Scotsman Ale released today (full disclosure, BJ’s comped my bill).

I’m not keen on “chain restaurants,” however, I have some fondness for BJ’s. It’s the place I really discovered there were different styles of beer — beer with flavors and aromas. I enjoy their Nutty Brewnette and HopStorm IPA and pretty much hate the LightSwitch Lager. Ugh!

But that’s the great thing about BJ’s; as a beer novice, it allowed me to ease in to Craft Beers. I could discover what I liked and didn’t like before I hit some of California’s premier breweries.

Unfortunately, as I developed a thirst for California Craft Beers, I sort of tossed BJ’s aside a not “serious” craft beer. That’s a mistake. BJ’s is the 44th largest craft brewery in the United States and they DO make good beers. Plus, I love Brewmaster Michael Ferguson‘s Beer Geeks television show!

The Hoppy Scotsman Ale was developed by the Huntington Beach-based BJ’s and Caledonian Brewing of Edinburgh, Scotland. Click here to see BJ’s promo video. The beer had a nice balance of malts and hops and went well with my deep dish pepperoni pizza. I also had a wedge salad; the combination of the beer and blue cheese was a bit bitter for my taste.

The food was plentiful and tasty, but I wish the restaurant’s atmosphere was more like Stone World Bistro than T.G.I.Fridays (just a personal preference). Also, do yourself a favor and DO NOT look  at the menu item calorie counts. Scary!

The service was pleasant and efficient.

There are 64 locations throughout the state and though the company is based in California, the beer appears to be brewed out of state in Reno, NV, Chandler, AZ and Boulder, CO.

Hoppy Scotsman Ale
Hoppy Scotsman Ale
Wedge Salad
My wedge salad
Pepperoni Pizza
My deep dish pepperoni pizza



Awards announced for this weekend’s West Coast Brew Fest

Winners have been announced in the competition part of the Annual West Coast Bew Fest. Beers were judged in 16 different categories. Multiple award winners include Lost Coast Brewery (5), Old Hangtown Brewing (4), River City Brewing (4), Sequoia Brewing (4), Tioga-Sequoia Brewing (4), Feather Falls Casino Brewery (3), Firestone Walker (3), Uncommon Brewers (3), and 21st Amendment (2). The beer festival portion of the event will be held next Saturday, May 19th at Miller Park in Sacramento.

By region, the California award-winning beers were:

1st Place, Belgian Ales – 21st Amendment Brewing Monk’s Blood
3rd Place, Other – 21st Amendment Brewing Back in Black

1st Place, English Ales – Firestone Walker Double Barrel
1st Place, Porter – Uncommon Brewers Baltic Porter
2nd Place, Belgian Ales – Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin
3rd Place, American Pale Ales – Firestone Walker Pale 31
3rd Place, India Pale Ale –  Firestone Walker Union Jack
3rd Place, Belgian Ales – Uncommon Brewers Golden State Ale

1st Place, Light Lagers – River City Brewery Helles Maibock
1st Place, Amber Ale – River City Brewery Wooden Head
1st Place, India Pale Ale – Knee Deep Brewing Simtra IPA
1st Place, Brown Ale – Loomis Basin Brewing St. Paddy’s
1st Place, Stout – Feather Falls Casino Brewery Black Jack
1st Place, Wheat Beers – River City Brewing Hefeweizen
1st Place, Fruit & Vegetabe Beers – Old Hangtown Brewery Mtn. Meadow
2nd Place, Light Lagers – Old Hangtown Brewery Hangtown Helles
2nd Place, Dark Lagers – Feather Falls Casino Brewery Wild Bill’s Winter
2nd Place, Stout – Old Hangtown Brewery Mineshaft
2nd Place, Wheat Beers – Feather Falls Casino Brewery Dancing Trees
3rd Place, Dark Lagers – Old Hangtown Brewery Schwarzgeld Black
3rd Place, Light Ale – Track 7 Brewing Company Riot Act Rye
3rd Place, English Ale – American River Brewing Sunrise IPA
3rd Place, Fruit & Vegetable Beers – River City Brewing Bergamot IPA

2nd Place, Light Ale – Lost Coast Brewery Sac Blonde
2nd Place, India Pale Ale – Lost Coast Brewery Indicia
2nd Place, Brown Ale – Lost Coast Brewery Downtown Brown
3rd Place, Amber Ale – Lost Coast Brewery Alley Cat
3rd Place, Stout – Lost Coast Brewery Eight Ball

1st Place, Dark Lagers – Tioga-Sequoia Brewery Tamarack Amber
1st Place, Light Ale – Sequoia Brewing Company Blossom Trail
1st Place, American Pale Ales – Sequoia Brewing Company Sequoia Pale Ale
2nd Place, American Pale Ales – Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Mt. Whitney
2nd Place, Strong Ale – Tioga-Sequoia Brewery General Grant
3rd Place, Light Lagers – Tioga-Sequoia Brewery Bohemian Pilsner
3rd Place, Porter – Sequoia Brewing Company Black Oak
3rd Place, Strong Ale – Sequoia Brewing Company Sasquatch

CA Beers take 56 Awards at World Beer Cup 2012

The World Beer Cup 2012 awards were announced last night at the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference.

California beers walked away with 55 awards (19% of the winners from around the world!). Firestone Walker in Paso Robles also walked away with the award for Mid-Size Champion Brewery and Brewer (Matthew Brynildson). Of the 55 awards, 20 were Gold, 13 were Silver and 22 were Bronze.

California Beer Region award count:

  • San Diego: 5 Gold | 3 Silver | 8 Bronze
  • Orange: 3 Gold | 3 Silver | 5 Bronze
  • North Coast: 4 Gold | 1 Silver | 3 Bronze
  • Central Coast: 4 Gold | 1 Silver | 1 Bronze
  • Gold Country: 1 Gold | 2 Silver | 3 Bronze
  • SoCal: 2 Gold | 1 Silver | 1 Bronze
  • Los Angeles: 1 Gold | 1 Silver
  • Bay Area: 0 Gold |1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Brewers from around the world received awards from an elite international panel of judges in the 2012 Brewers Association World Beer Cup. The ninth bi-annual competition boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories. A 17.7 percent increase over 2010, the entries were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards in their respective categories. Judges presented a total of 284 awards.

“It’s called ‘The Olympics of Beer Competition’ for good reason,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, the U.S.-based trade association that has put on the competition every two years since 1996. “The event brings together great brewers from all corners of the globe. Plus, the awards are highly regarded. A brewer who wins a World Beer Cup gold award knows that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup. The Brewers Association and the proud sponsors of our event thank all participating brewers for their involvement.”

Here are the California winners by region:


  • SILVER Indigenous Beer: Hqt, 21st-Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA
  • BRONZE American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Mavericks Amber Ale, Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Princeton-by-the-Sea, CA


  • GOLD Experimental Beer: Petit Obscura, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA
  • GOLD Australasian-Style Pale Ale or International-Style Pale Ale: 805 IPA, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
  • GOLD Foreign-Style Stout: Starry Night Stout, Island Brewing Co., Carpinteria, CA
  • GOLD American-Style Pale Ale: Pale 31, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
  • SILVER American-Style Pale Ale: Mission Street Pale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA
  • BRONZE Other Belgian-Style Ale: Rhinoceros, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA


  • GOLD Rye Beer: Ruthless Rye IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
  • SILVER Session Beer: Kellerweis, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
  • SILVER Imperial Red Ale: Bigfoot, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
  • BRONZE Specialty Beer: Bronze: Donner Party Porter, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA
  • BRONZE Belgian-Style Dubbel: Ovila Dubbel, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
  • BRONZE Sweet Stout: Blackjack Stout, Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co., Oroville, CA


  • GOLD Golden or Blonde Ale: Foam Top, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach, CA
  • SILVER German-Style Märzen: Rocktoberfest, Rock Bottom Long Beach, Long Beach, CA


  • GOLD Other Strong Beer: Star Brew, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA
  • GOLD Classic English-Style Pale Ale: Annadel Pale Ale, Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa, CA
  • GOLD Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout: Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout, Third Street Aleworks, Santa Rosa, CA
  • GOLD American-Style Black Ale: Black Racer, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Cloverdale, CA
  • SILVER Rye Beer: 3 Flowers IPA, Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, CA
  • BRONZE American-Style Sour Ale: Supplication, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA
  • BRONZE Golden or Blonde Ale: Steelhead Extra Pale, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA
  • BRONZE American-Style Amber Lager: Cali Common, Lucky Hand Beer, Novato, CA


  • GOLD Indigenous Beer: Got Beer, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Tacoma, Huntington Beach, CA
  • GOLD Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale: Oude Tart, The Bruery, Anaheim, CA
  • GOLD Robust Porter: Pier Rat Porter, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
  • SILVER English-Style Mild Ale: Alyssa’s Attitude, Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., San Clemente, CA Bronze: Nerf Herder, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
  • SILVER German-Style Sour Ale: Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, The Bruery, Anaheim, CA
  • SILVER Scotch Ale: Way Heavy, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
  • BRONZE Foreign-Style Stout: Voo Doo, Left Coast Brewing Co., San Clemente, CA
  • BRONZE Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer: Melange #1, The Bruery, Anaheim, CA
  • BRONZE Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale: Oud Jeremiah, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Brea, Huntington Beach, CA
  • BRONZE English-Style Mild Ale: Nerf Herder, Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA
  • BRONZE Brown Porter: Chocolate Porter, Bayhawk Ales, Irvine, CA


  • GOLD Coffee Beer: Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Coffee Imperial Porter, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
  • GOLD French- & Belgian-Style Saison: Carnevale, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
  • GOLD Irish-Style Red Ale: Red Trolley Ale, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • GOLD Imperial India Pale Ale: Poor Man’s IPA, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
  • GOLD English-Style Brown Ale: Longboard Brown Ale, Rock Bottom La Jolla, La Jolla, CA
  • SILVER Old Ale or Strong Ale: AleSmith Decadence 2010 Old Ale, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • SILVER American-Style Black Ale: Tarantulas 2.0, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
  • SILVER Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale: Two Tortugas Belgian Quad, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • BRONZE Chocolate Beer: Odin’s Raven, Alpine Beer Co., Alpine, CA
  • BRONZE Experimental Beer: Where There’s Smoke…, Manzanita Brewing Co., Santee, CA
  • BRONZE American-Belgo-Style Ale: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • BRONZE Belgian- and French-Style Ale: Gift of the Magi, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
  • BRONZE Barley Wine-Style Ale: AleSmith Old Numbskull, AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • BRONZE Imperial India Pale Ale: Palate Wrecker, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
  • BRONZE American-Style Brown Ale: Great American Brown, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
  • BRONZE American-Style Stout: Achievement Beyond Life’s Experiences American Stout Brit Antrim Benefit Beer, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA


  • GOLD Specialty Beer: Hangar 24 Winter Warmer, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Redlands, CA
  • GOLD Brown Porter: Double Nut Brown, Mammoth Brewing Co., Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • SILVER American-Style Premium Lager or Specialty Lager: Evans Original, Cervecería Mexicana, Corona, CA
  • BRONZE German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf-Style Altbier: Real McCoy Amber, Mammoth Brewing Co., Mammoth Lakes, CA