This past summer I visited the Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant in the Pacific Place Shopping Center on Pine Street. I was in downtown Seattle and looking for a place to grab dinner and drinks before a movie.
This was not my first visit to a Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant. In fact, GB is not unique to Seattle. They have many restaurants countrywide and this location features a working brewery. I’m a fan of their Märzen, which is a great amber colored lager, mildly sweet and very easy drinking.
Gordon Biersch holds true to traditional German beers and purity laws. They even use a specific strain of yeast from Weihenstephan, Germany.
GB has a state-of-the-art brewery and bottling facility located in San Jose, CA. I lived in San Jose briefly before moving to Seattle and had the pleasure of taking a tour on April 24, 2013.
The tours are free and by appointment only, Monday through Thursday. Tours have either a 10am or 6pm start time and typically last an hour. They do require you to organize your own group of 8-25 people. We had 7 in our party and they were happy to accommodate. The 10am start time was perfect, because who doesn’t want liquid carbs for breakfast?!
The tour begins with an overview of the brewing process. It starts in the area that is best described as their “Mission Control Center.” To kick off the tour, I had my choice of a 12 oz bottle of beer and settled on the Sommerbrau. This is a light bodied, Kölsch style beer, a refreshing way to kickoff your day. Once briefed on the processing and fancy high-tech computers, you continue on the plant tour, receiving a GB pint glass (that you get to keep) for a fresh taste right off the line.
Pictures are allowed throughout, with a few restrictions. After viewing the bottling, labeling and packaging area, the tour concludes in the cold storage.
As a farewell gift, the Brewmaster lets you select a 6-pack to take home. I chose the Maibock, a great malt-forward beer that is a seasonal release between February and April. Delicious!
Oh, did I mention the tour is free?!
A few additional fun facts I learned during my experience, GB currently brews and bottles for Costco’s private label Kirkland brand and for Trader Joe’s private label brand.
Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant
Images courtesy of BnB’s friends and tour group.