To live in the Bay Area is to live in Gordon Biersch country. Every bar, pub and many a restaurant you venture to serves up Gordon Biersch brews. The man behind this craft brewery is Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. He has earned a reputation as one of America’s leading brewing engineers during his 20-year tenure at Gordon Biersch Brewery. Dan personally supervises the 114,000 square foot state-of-the-art brewing and bottling facility built in 1997 in San Jose, California.
Dan is the first American in more than forty years to graduate from the prestigious five-year brewing program at the world-renowned Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, West Germany. As part of his training, Dan interned at the famed Spaten Brewery in Munich and Anheuser Busch.
“Being a brew master is about absolute adherence to quality throughout the brew making process.”
– Dan Gordon
Following graduation, Dan returned to his native California and joined forces with restaurateur Dean Biersch to open the first Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in Palo Alto in 1988. In addition to his brewing resume, Dan is also a talented chef and is the creator of the trademarked and wildly popular Gordon Biersch Garlic Fries.
In over 20 years since its inception, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company has expanded dramatically and continues to move actively towards national distribution. While supervising this growth, Dan personally ensures that his beloved beers– Märzen, Czech Style Pilsner, Hefeweizen and Blonde Bock, as well as his seasonal WinterBock, Maibock, SommerBrau and FestBier brews – are crafted in strict adherence to the German Purity Law known as Reinheitsgebot. Dan uses only the highest-quality ingredients imported from Germany, including Hallertauer hops, malted barley and a pure strain yeast culture supplied sourced exclusively from the Weihenstephan Yeast Bank.
Gordon lives in Redwood Shores, CA, with his wife, Melissa, and their three children. Although he spends most of his time brewing fine lagers for a living, he never tires of talking about his work. He is a guy who early on found his passion in brewing and it has never waned. Gordon frequently lectures at the Stanford University School of Business, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and the University of San Francisco. His hobbies include cooking, playing jazz trombone and trap shooting and just this weekend he performed at the San Jose Jazz Summer Festival. His beer like the man himself has many layers.
We talked over brews and in particular his new IPB in “mission control” at the world renowned San Jose brewery.
Five Tasty Questions with Dan Gordon
1. Being a brewmaster to you Dan is about what?
It’s about absolute adherence to quality throughout the entire production process.
2. What would be on the soundtrack to your life if you could pick one song or one artist?
First of all, I’d love to have a walking bass player behind me to giving me this little rhythm going along and then Gordon Goodwin’s “Let the Good Time Roll” would be the ultimate chart.
3. In your next life, you come back as something other than a brewmaster, what would you be?
A chef or anything but a musician.
4. What is your most memorable night out over beer in a bar?
Wow, that’s a good one! I would say with my brewmaster buddies in Germany just sitting around the table having a nice reunion in Munich.
5. At your last supper you can have a couple of guests, who would they be, what would you eat and what would you drink?
As far as the guests go, I don’t know that any of them would want the meal that I’m going to select, so I’d probably be by myself. It’d be a solo appearance. There’s definitely going to be a lot of sea urchin involved and a lot of raw fish. I think I’m going to add on some stinky tofu and other inedible fermented items.
Imperial Pilsner Brau (IPB), Gordon Biersch Brewery
A series of rare, specialty brews with a limited production of 4,000 cases or less are being released throughout the year with Imperial Pilsner Brau (IPB) leading the charge. The brews are expected to appeal to the modern beer connoisseur as well as wine drinkers seeking an alternative beverage option.
“This is a beer unlike any other made before,” says Gordon. “We designed the IPB to pique the curiosity of the IPA drinker, and we hope to capture their palate preference with the unique, authentic flavor that is completely its own. This concept is all about innovation and beer creativity.”
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company imported 750ml. bottles from Germany as they do not exist in the United States. The brewing process takes place at the San Jose brewery and is topped off by hand with the addition of an historic German swing-top enclosure, dating back to the late 1800s.
IPB is an intensely-hopped, bold Pilsner that emphasizes the noble hops from central Europe: Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt and Saaz.
Brewed in accordance with the Germany Purity Law of 1516, it is naturally carbonated and unfiltered. IPB is 6.5% alcohol and 50 IBU.
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