California Pilgrimage: Genesis (Bj’s Restaurant and Brewhouse)

(The California Pilgrimage is my one month journey around California encompassing various activities but overall, these posts will be about beer. This title is directly from the first episode of Michael Jackson’s old show called The Beer Hunter. A True Beer Geek must know about Michael Jackson. If you don’t, you’re either a poser or someone who is starting out the journey through the Elixir of Life. I hope you are the latter.)

Day one, May 24, 2015

Genesis… The beginning… It is the first book of the Judeo-Christian religions referring to the origin story according to this culture and religion. It is, in some ways, my Genesis into Craft Beer. I have been crazy about the drink for the last five years yet I haven’t been able to visit the American Breweries I know and love. To that end, I was able to visit three breweries during this visit. This was quite low for my preferences but NorCal (I was mostly based in San Francisco and the Bay Area during this visit) has so much to provide. It is my type of place and I can’t wait to go back. Nevertheless, this day was a great start.

I arrived at SFO (San Francisco International Airport) around 4 PM with my grandparents (who are the best grandparents one can have). The view was cloudy and grey, a sharp contrast to the warm, bright and sunny palette that I was exposed to the past few months. I was ecstatic after bearing a fourteen hour flight in economy class plus the hour long wait at immigration. I arrived at my aunt’s house around 6:30 PM with this beautiful view of the Western Conference Finals Game (anything in a 72 inch screen is beautiful).

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72 Inches is Bliss

Prior to leaving for San Francisco, I messaged my good high school friend Aaron on my trip to the Bay Area. We agreed to see each other when I arrived but I didn’t expect to see him a few hours into my trip. He saw my uploaded photo of the TV on my Facebook feed and he surprised me by arriving at the driveway fifteen minutes later. It has been more than a year since I last saw him when he and his wife visited Manila. Seeing him just sent bolts of energy around my body and I couldn’t help but run and hug the mofo. After talking to him for a few minutes, I asked permission from my relatives if I could spend the night with them. Luckily, I have very understanding relatives.

Due to my incessant demand for beer (I was in California, it’s beer country), Aaron and Sarah brought me to Bj’s Restaurant Brewhouse at San Bruno.

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Exclusive: A Sneak Peek to the Largest Craft Brewery (Yet) in the Philippines

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Last July 4 was a special day for me. I was invited to check out the facility of Great Islands Craft Brewery and join in for the first brewing session at the new facility. The brewery is the brain child of one, if not the best, brewer in the country, Philippine Brewing God a.k.a. Baldis. For those now in the know, Baldis was the brewer who helped and taught the aspiring brewers several years ago who are now the people behind Katipunan Craft Ales and Craftpoint Brewing Co. With hearing the news of Baldis finally being able to set up the brewery of his dreams, I was ecstatic to see the place and see the man himself play with his new shiny toys.

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