Gordon Biersch Brewing Company—not the brewpub but the brewing and bottling facility located on Taylor Street in San Jose—has started offering limited-release, big-bottle beers with special flip-tops as part of the Braumeister Selekt series. The first issue is the Imperial Pilsner Brau, which was released last summer and has garnered much acclaim, enchanting those who’ve been curious to taste a hoppy Gordon Biersch beer.
The Weizen Eisbock, a dark wheat beer released this past fall, has already proven just as popular and well made; in October, it won a bronze medal in the German-style wheat ale category at the Great American Beer Festival. This particular kind of beer is based on a technique accidentally developed by a brewer in Kulmbach, Germany. Water molecules are frozen out of the brew and removed, resulting in a higher alcohol content with a stronger flavor.
“The idea of the big-bottle series was to produce some old school and one-of-a-kind, hard-to-get German beers that were unfiltered and dedicated to authenticity,” shares founder Dan Gordon, a South Bay native—“Born in San Jose. Raised in Los Altos. Went to Homestead High.”
After graduating from UC-Berkeley, Gordon moved to Germany to study at the Technical University of Munich’s prestigious beer-brewing program in Weihenstephan. He learned to brew according to the Reinheitsgebot, a purity law dating back to 1516 that states that beer can only be made with four ingredients: water, hops, malted barley and yeast. Returning home, Dan brought back this beer-making tradition.
Gordon and Dean Biersch opened their first brewery restaurant in Palo Alto in 1988, with the downtown San Jose location opening a couple years later. The brewery and bottling facility opened in 1997. The restaurant side has since been sold, but the two businesses remain “tied at the hip.”
Gordon Biersch’s regular and seasonal lineup of beer styles includes Hefeweizen, Marzen, Blonde Bock, Czech Style Pilsner, Maibock, SommerBrau, WinterBock and FestBier. There is also a special Ÿberbier series, featuring Zwickel Bock, an unfiltered blonde bock, and Zwickel Pils, an unfiltered pilsner to be released in the spring.
The next Braumeister Selekt beer will be the 25th Anniversary Dunkles. Dan says, “It’s the one and only style we brewed at the opening of the original Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Palo Alto.” A special celebration to commemorate Gordon Biersch’s 25th anniversary is scheduled for May 18 at the Taylor Street brewery. As for the current Braumeister Selekt offerings, they are available in local beer stores, but I’ve noticed that they’re disappearing quickly from the shops that I go to.
[This post was shared on SanJose.com.]