Friday, June 25, 2010

Gordon Biersch Keg Tapping - SommerBrau June 2010

I hadn't really given Gordon Biersch much thought since starting the Better Beer Authority.  In my book, they were never much more than a chain restaurant until I heard that they were one of the "local" brewers invited to Columbus Beerfest.

Last night, Brian Forrest (BBA Reviewer) and I were invited to a keg-tapping at the Gordon Biersch in the Arena District in Columbus, Ohio.  SommerBrau was the star of the evening and didn't disappoint.  It was a German Kölsh with a pale color, mild hop presence and just a touch of lemon zing.  I could have sat on their patio and put back several of these medium-bodied seasonal beers, but I had a lot on my to-do list for the evening.

Chris Alltmont, the brewmaster, gave us a tour of the facilities and we learned a lot about Gordon Biersch.  He was a great ambassador for the company.  Give this guy a raise!  They focus on German beer styles, so they tend to have more lagers than ales.  These beers reminded me of sitting in the beer gardens of Germany's Bavarian region.  Big thumbs up to the Schwarzbier and Märzen.  The Schwarzbier was my favorite.  It was a dark lager with roasted, chocolaty coffee notes and very lively mouthfeel.

Chris said that the company tries to brew according to Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law.  They use only the four basic ingredients barley, hops, water and yeast (except for the wheat in the Hefewiezen).  Seeing Chris's passion for his work definitely got me stoked for the beer he is brewing.

My favorite moment of the evening was when Chris gave us a taste of "young" Schwarzbier.  It still had 4 more weeks of conditioning left and it had a much different taste.  It had an extra flavor to it that reminded me of hay.  It was still delicious, but helped me see what happens to the beer over time.

Next time I head to the Arena District I will definitely be stopping into Gordon Biersch to see what their seasonal beer is and to taste some of that delicious Schwarzbier.  Cheers.  Thanks for the invite Chris.

-James

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