This is a continuation from last night’s post on the breweries that are represented in the San Francisco airport. Last night I covered the Anchor Brewing Company, tonight I will cover three of the four beers that were on tap at the Gordon Biersch airport location. The three beers that I had were the Märzen, the Pilsner and the Hefeweizen, each is good in its own right and each serves as a good representation for the style. So, on to the beers.
The Märzen is a traditional German style, and as the brewery description indicates, the original Oktoberfest beer. While the Beer Judge Certification Program credits the Märzen as being discovered in 1840, the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, so I guess it comes down to whose version is correct. However, when a beer tastes this good, isn’t that the most important part? On Beeradvocate the Märzen has an 81 and a 96 from the Bros. Over at ratebeer it has a 44 overall and a 59 for style.
Märzen (Mayrt-zen) was historically brewed in Bavaria from March through the end of October. It was brewed dark and strong, using dark roasted Munich and caramelized Munich malt to help cover up flavor changes from the lack of refrigeration (ice in those days) used to keep the beers cold in the cellars during the warm summer months. It was also the beer served at the Original Oktoberfest celebration, which originated as a wedding reception for the King Ludwig I and Maria Theresa. Bavaria was a very poor country and had little cause for celebration, so the King and Queen invited the entire population of Bavaria to the reception. They showed up that year and every year thereafter, and the event evolved into the modern day Oktoberfest. Gordon Biersch Märzen accentuates the flavors of the dark roasted imported malted barley and exhibits a caramel malt aftertaste, while downplaying the hop level.
Alcohol Volume: 5.8% Bitterness: 18 IBU Residual Sugar: 2.8%
OG: 13.5° Plato Yeast Strain: Weihenstephan 34/70 Hops: Hallertau
OG: 13.5° Plato Yeast Strain: Weihenstephan 34/70 Hops: Hallertau
The GB Märzen is a great beer that is far closer in quality and style to the Beeradvocate rating than the one it received from ratebeer. The Märzen is light copper in color with an off white foamy head that has excellent retention. It has a full, luxurious caramel and slightly bready aroma that is exceptionally well rounded, with a very slight hop spice from the Hallertau hops. The Märzen is definitely full bodied with a very full mouth feel. The flavor is full of roast caramel malts and an almost biscuit smoothness that finishes almost silky just the slightest amount of alcoholic bite. EXCELLENT, no matter what they might say over at ratebeer.
Czech Style Pilsner
The Pilsner is a traditional Bohemian (Czech) style that was born of a confluence of factors. Notably, the arrival of a new brewer in Plzen, Josef Groll, “the Father of Pils,” who developed a new technique of malting that allowed him to brew with paler malts. The paler malts in combination with the extremely soft water in Plzen, combined with the local noble hops (hops high in aroma but low in bitterness), and the fable of a lager yeast that was smuggled into Bohemia from Bavaria by a monk.
As for the Gordon Biersch Czech Style Pilsner, it has a rating of 80 score and an 84 from the bros on Beeradvocate, with a 34 overall and 47 for style on ratebeer.
They say:Czech Style Pilsner is a celebration of hops. It was first brewed in the Czech town of Pilsen in 1842 using special yeast smuggled out of Germany by a Czech monk. The region surrounding Pilsen is famous for its hops. Pilsner was the first clear golden brew: beers before it were dark and cloudy. We use imported Bavarian Hallertau and Tettnang aroma hops along with the finest pilsner malt.
Alcohol Volume: 5.2% Bitterness: 30 IBU Residual Sugar: 2%
OG: 12.5° Plato Yeast Strain: Weihenstephan 34/70 Hops: Hallertau and Tettnang
Pilsner’s aren’t my favorite style, but they are definitely a pleasant refreshing beer on a hot day, or rather in the evening as opposed to while riding the lawnmower (like a wheat beer). It pours straw with a thin white head. There is a very slight malt aroma, an interesting hop spiciness and a slight background note of diacetyl (a buttery aroma and flavor that is considered a flaw in other styles, but is preferred in Pilsners). The flavor is very light yet complex with a medium-full bodied finish. It is a very refreshing beer that is a good example of the style. Once again, I have no idea why it got hammered so hard over on ratebeer.
I personally find a Hefeweizen to be very enjoyable from spring thru early fall, being a German wheat beer, the yeast used gives it a much more complex aroma and flavor than the clean fermenting American yeast strains providing for a more intriguing beer. The Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen in particular is intriguing. On Beeradvocate the GB Hefeweizen has an 84. Over at ratebeer it has a 73 overall and a 93 for style.
They say:Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen is a true, unfiltered, Bavarian-style wheat (Weizen) beer with the yeast (Hefe) still present. It is brewed with 65% malted wheat and 35% malted barley. Our Hefeweizen is very effervescent with a higher level of natural carbonation - 20% higher than other craft-brewed wheat beers. A special top fermenting yeast strain is used to ferment this beer producing flavors hinting of citrus, banana, bubble gum and clove, which are all naturally produced by the yeast. In Bavaria, this beer is traditionally consumed Sunday morning after church (and sometimes before as well as during) alongside Weisswurst (white veal sausages) and freshly baked Brez'n (pretzels).
Alcohol Volume: 5.5% Bitterness: 12 IBU Residual Sugar: 2.7%
OG: 12.5° Plato Yeast Strain: Weihenstephan 68 Hops: Hallertau
The Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen does not disappoint, it is as complex and refreshing as I had hoped it would be. It pours a hazy orange/gold in color with a nice off white head. The aroma is fruity (banana), citrusy with a slight bready yeast character to round it out. The flavor is easily as enjoyable as the aroma. There is tons of banana in the flavor followed up with distinct citrus notes. It is exceptionally smooth and very refreshing!
The Gordon Biersch restaurant is definitely worth the stop if you are looking for a good beer, and/or are coming from or going to the International terminal out of the United Concourse. I did not have food on this most recent visit, but they were my first stop on all trips back from Asia for either one of their excellent Cheeseburgers or an even better Pulled Pork Sandwich, and don’t forget the garlic fries!!!
That’s all for tonight, come back soon for a review of the 2011 Holidale from Breckinridge Brewery.