10 Things You Didn't Know About BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

If you happen to have a location of BJ's in your neck of the woods, consider yourself lucky: This chain takes its beer seriously, and its food menu is huge. But even if no Sunday night is complete without a Pizookie, we bet there's a lot you didn't know about this chain. 

Before There Was Beer, There Was Pizza

BJ's was originally named BJ's Chicago Pizza, and later just BJ's Pizza; it wasn't until the company started brewing beer in 1996 that it changed the name to focus more on the beer than the pizza. 

It Has Different Names Across the Country

Depending on where you live, BJ's might also be called BJ's Pizza & Grill or BJ's Restaurant & Brewery. Locations of BJ's Pizza & Grill have a smaller format and more limited menu. 

Its Beer Has Won More Than 150 Awards

The company takes its beer very seriously, and it's regularly entered into national competitions. It's won several gold medals from the Great American Beer Festival, and just this year its PM Porter won the World Beer Cup gold medal in the robust porter category, and the Oasis Amber took gold at the North American Brewers Association Beer Awards. 

It Operates Breweries Across the Country

The company operates six breweries in five different states; its primary breweries are located in Reno, Nevada, and Tempe, Texas. 

There’s a Test Brewery in Boulder

Boulder has a reputation as a beer paradise, and it's where most of the company's beer experimentation takes place. More than 150 beers are tested there annually, and only a handful of them are approved for national release. 

Some Locations Sell Bottles and Cans of Beer

Some locations are able to sell six-packs for you to take home, if you'll lucky. 

Seasonal Beer Dinners Are Held Quarterly

Contact your local BJ's to learn when it'll be hosting its next beer dinner; they're held once per season to pair seasonal brews with menu items, and it's a great opportunity to learn more about the chain's beer offerings. 

Its Brewers Have Some Serious Beer Cred

Alex Puchner, the chain's senior vice president of brewing operations, launched the beer program in 1996 and is still on board today. Josh Fulk, the director of brewing operations, formerly headed brewing and packaging for MillerCoors, and Tobey Oliver, the director of brewery production and logistics, has been with the company since 1997. 

It Has a Fairly Generous Rewards Program

If you sign up for its rewards program, you'll earn one point for every dollar you spend at BJ's (exclusive of alcohol, gift cards, beer dinners, tax, and tip). Seventy-five points earns you $5 off, 100 points earns you a free Pizookie, 150 points earns you $10 off, and 350 points earns you $25 off. 

It’s Widely Credited With Inventing the “Pizza Cookie”

The pizza cookie is a fairly common dessert now (even Pizza Hut offers one), but BJ's is widely acknowledged as the dish's inventor. Called the Pizookie, it's now available in nearly a dozen flavors, including chocolate chunk, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter, salted caramel, and even monkey bread.