Note: This review of Dan Gordon’s beers was published in the San Jose Mercury News on July 16, 2008. In case you’ve overlooked Gordon Biersch beers at your local supermarket because, they’s German-style lagers and not uber-beers, I suggest you look again. Photo: Gordon-Biersch Dunkelweizen in a Bavarian weisse glass. wb
Gordon Biersch brews made to code
NO RICE OR SUGAR IN THESE LAGERS, AND THEYRE FAR FROM LIGHT
By William Brand
MediaNews Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/16/2008 01:32:24 AM PDT
Unlike brewers in the great ale-making countries of the United Kingdom and Belgium, German brewers adhere to the Reinheitsgebot, the Bavarian purity code religiously. The code allows only hops, malted barley (and wheat), water and yeast. No rice like Budweiser has and no sugar like the Belgians and the British sometimes do.
Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch closely follows the Bavarian code: no rice. To brew Munich style beers, the water must be chemically altered to the same chemical composition as the water in Munich. To follow the code, Gordon’s brewers add a natural lactobacillus to the barley mash to adjust the water’s pH to the proper hardness.
It’s like that throughout the brewing process. And what comes out is, well, splendid. Don’t look for über-hops or extreme, high-alcohol beers. Gordon Biersch brews are marked by a mellow spice with subtle notes of malt up front. Hops are spicy German Hallertau. The range includes:
- Gordon Biersch Dunkelweizen***1/2, the summer seasonal. It’s a dark, top-fermented, unfiltered, very drinkable, wheat beer, made with a special German yeast that adds a unique spiciness.
- Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen***1/2. Made year-round, this hefe is made in the original Munich style. It’s a cloudy gold with a spicy nose from the German Hallertau hops. Gordon only uses German hops and a finish with strong, clove notes.
- Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock****. This is one of the brewery’s stronger beers, 7 percent alcohol by volume. It has a delightful, silky maltiness. It’s just about a perfect beer to serve with dinner.
- Gordon Biersch Märzen ****is an amber lager with a pronounced, malty taste with a fading sweetness lasting into a crisp, spicy finish. This is the original beer served at Munich’s Oktoberfest in the mid-1800s. It’s the company’s bestselling beer and no wonder. It’s an excellent example of the style.
- Gordon Biersch Winter Bock*** is a strong Bavarian-style double bock. It usually hits stores in the Bay Area in late November. It’s 7.5 percent ABV, dark, malty, very drinkable.
- Gordon Biersch FestBier. This is Dan Gordon’s version of the beer served these days at Oktoberfest in Munich. It’s due to be released in late August and is something to anticipate.
Gordon Biersch beers are widely available in stores in the Bay Area and throughout California; they’re also sold in Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii and in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.