Let’s do something different for Foodie Friday. Rather than talking about a particular restaurant, let’s talk about a particular menu item. And since it’s Friday and it’s likely 5 o’clock somewhere, let’s make the menu item of the adult beverage variety. Call it Foodie Friday with a Big Blue twist.
Enter the Big Blue Van
If you’re not a big fan of hefeweisens, you probably can stop reading here. If you are, however, this story begins at BJ’s Brewhouse in Peoria – a large chain restaurant, yes, but one that carries local micro-brews at different times. Which is how I met the Big Blue Van, brewed in Lake Havasu at the College Street Brewery. From a flavor standpoint, take a basic Shocktop or Blue Moon and infuse the beer with a non-sweet blueberry flavor. Put another way, take the Abita Purple Haze and sub blueberry for raspberry. Whichever method you prefer, the end result was a love affair.
Last November, my wife and I drove up to Laughlin and decided to come home through Lake Havasu. For her, the trip was about London Bridge. For me, it was about drinking the Big Blue Van in its natural habitat, as it were. College Street sells six-packs of the stuff, and I’m reasonably certain it can be found at Bevmo, but we all know beer tastes better from the tap. One thing that makes the presentation in Lake Havasu entirely unique: just as Blue Moon or Shocktop often is served with an orange slice, College Street will serve its Big Blue Van with blueberries floating on the surface. Odd at first, but a nice twist.
Where to Find It
As of the moment, there are four restaurants I’ve found that carry Big Blue Van. There is the aforementioned BJ’s at Park West, Northern Avenue just west of the 101. Then there are three locally-owned restaurants – Heroes Grill at 59th Avenue and Union Hills, Il Primo at 67th Avenue and Bell (and presumably at the other half-dozen or so locations) and Headquarters, just east of Harkins Arrowhead west of 83rd Avenue.
As much as I wish I were receiving free beer for this plug, I’m not. But if you’re in the mood for something different brewed here in the great state of Arizona, the Big Blue Van is an excellent way to go.