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PRODUCT REVIEW: The Gordon Biersch Brewing Company

Dan Gordon brewed his first batch of Gordon Biersch beer nearly 20 years ago, making him one of the pioneers of American craft brewing. The company was founded in 1988, after California repealed a law to allow restaurants to brew beer on-site, thereby paving the way for the creation of the brewpub. In 1987, Gordon, fresh from earning a degree in brewing engineering from the uber-prestigious Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, sat down with restaurateur and fellow California native Dean Biersch to map out a plan to bring freshly-brewed beer and freshly-prepared food together under one roof. One year later, the pair opened the first Gordon Biersch brewpub in Palo Alto, California, featuring a menu of appetizers, entrées, salads and sandwiches created to complement Gordon’s expertly-crafted beers. Gordon even created a barbecue sauce made with his Marzen that is still served today with burgers and their barbecued chicken pizza. Gordon also invented the restaurant’s wildly popular Garlic Fries.   Gordon Biersch Pilsner.
Today, there are 27 Gordon Biersch brewpubs across 16 states and Washington, DC. In June, the company went international with the opening of a Gordon Biersch restaurant and brewery in Taiwan. All of the beers served at the restaurants are brewed on-site; beers are also brewed and bottled at a state-of-the-art brewing facility in San Jose, California. Gordon Biersch produces more than 3 million gallons of beer per year there, making it one of the largest craft breweries in California.

But when you visit one of Gordon Biersch’s numerous brewpubs, you won’t find any explosively hoppy IPAs on tap, or extra-strength imperial stouts, or any of the other so-called extreme beers that have grown in popularity in recent years. At a time when many American craft breweries seem to be engaged in a perpetual battle to out-hop each other, Gordon Biersch remains an anomaly. The company brews only German-style lagers—solid, down-to-earth beers that are as unpretentious as the man who brews them.

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