For lack of a better term, I’m going to treat Gordon Biersch like a microbrewery for just today. The restaurants themselves are owned by a multi-brand restaurant operator called Craftworks which also runs Old Chicago, Rock Bottom, A1A Aleworks, and a slew of other regional chain restaurants. The brewery, however, is located in San Jose, California, and produces all the Gordon Biersch beers as well as contracted brews for Kirkland (sold at Costco) and Trader Joe’s. Given their distribution, they probably produce more barrels than a “microbrew” is allowed to, but I’ll forgive that for just today.
The Czech Style Pilsner pours a beautiful golden wheat colored. The head is sticky and left quite a bit of lacing, but did dissipate quickly. There was very little aroma wafting from the beer. It smells fresh and clean, but I could detect very little hops, alcohol, malt, or any other flavor. My first taste revealed exactly what my nose was expecting. Clean, fresh, immature hops with a little bit of alcohol burn. There were no complicated flavors, no waves of flavor. This is simple pilsner that could probably be produced using a home brewing kit.
I do also want to mention that Gordon Biersch serves their fries covered in parsley, salt, and minced garlic. This beer reacted pretty violently with the garlic aftertaste and my mouth felt like it was on fire. I’m attributing this to alcohol burn, but also the idea of serving fries with minced garlic, not cooked down, also kind of bothers me (even though they were delicious). At Gordon Biersch, this was not a beer to eat with a burger and fries. That in itself is a problem.
As far as pilsners go, this is another fresh, clean beer. The 5.6% ABV is not too harsh making this something you can sit down and have a few of without overdoing it. You can buy Gordon Biersch Czech Pilsner for around $10-12 for a 12 pack. At this price point and quality, I would happily buy this by the case and serve it at barbecues or family parties. This is a good beer, but nothing extraordinary or something worth going out of your way to find.