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Gordon Biersch Brewing (Pasadena)

Official Web Page 
41 Hugus Alley (at One Colorado, Pasadena, California
Tel: (626) 449-0052   Fax: (626) 449-0067
Head Office: Las Vegas, Nevada

Opened: 1988
Date Visited: July 16th, 2001

The Gordon Biersch chain certainly seems to be doing something right, with its expansion taking its microbrews to the consumer, instead of waiting for the consumer to come to them. The company started out in 1988 when restaurateur Dean Biersch teamed up with acclaimed brewer Dan Gordon and opened their first brewery restaurant in Palo Alto. The chain now covers 18 locations, mainly concentrated in California, but stretching from Honolulu to Washington DC.

As a graduate of the German brewing school in Weihenstephan, the most renowned brewing school in the world, Dan Gordon’s expertise was in authentic German style lagers. This is really what sets the brewery apart from the majority of breweries in the USA, most of whom concentrate on ales which are slightly easier to produce. The ones that concentrate on lagers are usually the bigger breweries and compromise much on the original styles.

In the style of German lagers, Gordon Biersch only uses the finest and purest ingredients, which include Hallertauer hops, two-row barley malt and a Weihenstephan imported yeast strain. To students of the beer industry, it should go without saying that they also comply with the 500-year German purity law known as the Reinheitsgebot.

Beers Reviewed

(click on beer name for full review)
Blonde Bock Type: Bock ABV: 7.1%
Very good for a lager, not so exciting for a bock. Has extra malt and strength, but just doesn't achieve anything sensational. Try it once
Ratings: Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 7/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 7/10 Overall: 15/20 Score: 3.7


Dunkles Type: Dunkel ABV: 4.5%
This is a great, refreshingly smooth lager that also brings a nice character and flavor with it. It did in fact remind me very much of a Belgian White Beer, of course darker in color, but a little lighter in flavor. Maybe not the most exciting lager I’ve ever tried but certainly much more than adequate.
Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 7/10 Palate: 5/5 Taste: 8/10 Overall: 15/20 Score: 3.8


Golden Export Type: Dort ABV: %
The character and flavor are not particularly big, a little light and subdued, but it was certainly more than I had expected. A great summer refresher, with a good crisp slightly dry finish.
Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 7/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 7/10 Overall: 14/20 Score: 3.5


Märzen Type: Märzen ABV: %
Excellent US-brewed German lager. Mixes sweet malty flavors without being too overwhelming. A must try for lager drinkers and brown ale fans.
Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 8/10 Palate: 3/5 Taste: 9/10 Overall: 17/20 Score: 4.0


Pilsner Type: Märzen ABV: 5.3%
Pale golden color, with a body that’s pretty thin and clear. There’s a light carbonation, while the foam is a little light and doesn’t last too long. Nose has a clean maltiness, a little fruity, maybe grapey. A few swirls unleash the hops that provide a Gordon Biersch characteristic that is something of a herbal, almost medicinal aroma, as well as a slight note of peppery spice. A slight carbonation tingles the tongue at first, but then it runs through fairly smooth and light, not really offering too much along the way. I’d certainly appreciate a few more bubbles and a little more sharp crispness. Initial malty, fruity flavors greet the taste buds, with very faint signs of apple. The herbs and spice come into play towards the end, but seem a little too brief to really request much attention. The hops do impart a considerable dryness at the back, with a mild tang and a slight sourness. The dryness lingers well into the aftertaste where it meets with a mild apple and slight grassiness, but little attempt at a malty balance. I’m not sure if it’s just the lack of malt, but I certainly find myself looking for something else in the aftermath.
Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 6/10 Palate: 2/5 Taste: 5/10 Overall: 10/20 Score: 2.6


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