While walking through the streets of Tempe, Arizona, I stumbled across Gordon Biersch. I had heard they had a pretty good selection of beers and wanted to give their lunch menu a whirl. I walked in, headed upstairs, and grabbed a seat at the bar.
Before walking in, I took a quick look at their menu. They had a list of beers they make in house, and figured I would try one or two. Better yet, give me the sampler platter! They have a sample of each beer, including their seasonal selection, for less than two pints. Granted, these are small beers but still. They are the same size you get when you order a sampler platter at any restaurant. They all look about the same.
This beer is said to be their lightest and freshest brew as well as their most refreshing. Upon first look it appears to be like any other domestic beer, but when you stick your nose deep in the glass you get certain crispness. The reason for the name is that this is one of the earliest styles of beers ever made, and it was once exported to countries like Germany.
The beer has a smooth taste with a short after taste and reminded me of a better tasting Bud Light. It was not too complex and is just one of those beers that people who don’t like beer drink. I liked it, don’t get me wrong. Just nothing there to write home about.
This beer is one of my favorite summer brews. Once served to only royalty and those with money, this beer is now most commonly referred to as Blue Moon. While Blue Moon has a more domestic taste, a little bit more controlled, this beer here at Gordon Biersch has a ton of flavor. The nose is not very big, but the second you throw this beer back your mouth goes on a journey through flavor.
The beer doesn’t have a big after taste, but it does have more punch than a typical hefeweizen. And for those of you who don’t know how to pronounce this style of beer, try sounding this out. (hey-fa-VEIT-sen).
When I first had a pilsner I wasn’t all that impressed. But the more I drink them the better. I think spending almost two months in Poland had a lot to do with that as I drank a ton of this style while over seas.
Like most pilsners, the nose is weak and almost nonexistent. But once you take a sip your mouth goes crazy with flavor. And the aftertaste sticks with you for quite a while. It has a deep, dark aftertaste that makes your whole body warm with satisfaction.
The folks at Gordon Biersch say this brew is most often compared to a Saaz beer. I am not too sure what that means, but there is definitely a ton of spiciness and a lot of flavors on the latter half of this beer. Tasty, and one that I would love to have again. Perhaps I will order a pint when I am done!
I am not sure I have ever had a beer like this before. At first glance it appears to be a brown lager, a typical brew you can find almost anywhere. But this style is a bit different. Originally brewed in March, hence the name (Marzen means March in German). This beer drinks like an amber but offers up a sweeter finish than most beers.
The nose on this beer is even sweet, and the first drink leaves you wanting more. The flavor is not that great, but the aftertaste is indeed worth it. Sweetness is a good word to describe it as when the flavors leave the sweetness stays behind. Its weird, almost like I just sucked on a packet of Splenda.
This beer, even though it is a unique style, is not something I will be looking for the next time I visit the liquor store. It was good, that’s about it. Glad I tried it though as I am always looking to experience new styles of beer.
I am not even sure I have heard of this style before. But in German it means “black beer”. However, the beer is not black. Go figure.
The beer, like most of the beers I was trying, had a weak nose. But they promised a coffee-like finish with a hint of dry roasted coffee beans in the after taste. So I drank up to find out.
While it didn’t taste like coffee, it did have a very dry finish with a weak start. The after taste, the longer it sat on my tongue, began to taste like coffee. But it leaves an almost nutty finish rather than coffee. But dry is a great work to describe this beer. It was delicious as well, leaving me begging for more.
I might also suggest drinking this beer warm in a room temperature glass. Most beers, good beers anyway, need to be drunk this way. The beer actually gets better the warmer it gets and the closer it gets to room temperature.
Their seasonal beer was a typical Oktoberfest brew. When the waitress served it she even said, “This is just a typical Oktoberfest beer. Nothing special.” She said it with a smile, but she was right.
I am not sure what it is about this style. I am not a huge fan. The same with the pumpkin ales that are popping up this season too. I did hear of a pumpkin porter that is floating around the Midwest, but have yet to try it. If you can point me in the right direction I might just grab one of those.
But this Oktoberfest had very little nose and even less flavor. The aftertaste is actually the best part. It is weak, but it sticks around for a while. Nothing to brag about.
The beers here were just mediocre. They are nothing I would try to order at home, and would not come back just for the beer. However, places like The Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurant & Brewery, and Alcatraz Brewing Company are all about the same. They have the same styles of beer, they all taste similar, and they are all just decent at best. I drink them, but I don’t brag about them to my friends.
Award Winning Beers
The beers here at Gordon Biersch have won a few awards. I am not sure if the year has anything to do with it, or if the judges just like their beers, but I am not sure I would call them award winning. Some of the awards they have won come from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. They have won bronze, silver, and gold medals in various years and for various beers.
While I might not give any of these beers an award, I am glad that I chose to stop by and try these brews.
Starting to Get Hungry
While here I wanted to make sure to try their food as well. I looked over the menu, and the price points seemed a bit high. But, it’s to be expected here in Tempe. I glanced over the appetizer sampler, which is always a popular choice with me, but I decided to stay true to my diet, especially since I didn’t eat too well while in Las Vegas. So I ordered a Cobb salad.
It was great! The salad was served with chicken, and had all the typical Cobb salad ingredients on top. There was a perfect amount of lettuce as well that made the salad good to the last bite. The chicken was seasoned and the bacon was spicy, and it was quite possibly one of the best salads I have had in a long time. And I eat a lot of salads.
One thing that I didn’t care for were the servers. Granted, I sat at the bar, but still. In the time I spent enjoying my lunch I heard all their weekend plans, what football games they were interested in on television, their newly found workout routines, and their plan to switch shifts so they could stay out later that night. It was Saturday; I might do the same thing.
As a matter of fact, having served for the majority of my working career, I did do that. I was always a part of the “server community” and did the same thing day in and day out. It’s the same thing no matter where you go. I do like it that the management staff seemed to be connected with the servers as well and they all called each other by name. It was not a fine dining establishment, and that’s okay. I didn’t expect it to be. Overall, the service was just what a place like this demands.
I am glad that I skipped the Thai place and decided to come in here for lunch. It was a learning experience trying the new beers, I had a great salad, and I walked away completely satisfied. I wonder if there are any of these in the Midwest.
Have you ever had a beer or eaten at a Gordon Biersch? Where is the closest location to you?