Sometimes I run across beer enthusiasts (read: “snobs”) who dismiss Gordon-Biersch as “just a chain brewery”. It is a national chain, that cannot be disputed. But this isn’t the McDonald’s of beer we’re talking about, cramming cheap ingredients into product that tastes like nothing. In fact, the brewer at Louisville’s Gordon-Biersch, Nick Landers, is a guy who knows his stuff quite well, and when he isn’t making classic German beers that are staples of the G-B name, he’s making other good brews to fill up those fancy stainless steel taps.
For instance, I stopped in recently after an especially lengthy fantasy football draft to find that Nick’s IPA was on draft. (That’s not German!) The dark amber beer had a quaffable medium body with a wonderful citrus aroma and nice balance. The Citra and Amarillo hop blend was spot on, with a lightly spicy finish – I tend to gravitate to the other breweries around town, but I have to say that I really need to get to Gordon-Biersch more often to enjoy beers like this one. I also tried the seasonal blonde bock, a summer cream ale with a touch of hop character. But beware this brew, which is light-drinking but packs a bit of a wallop at 7.7 percent alcohol by volume. Deceptive.
And it should be noted that G-B keeps a few local brews on as guest taps, which is another nice touch. I tasted the Kölsch, a light German-style beer that is sort of a hybrid of ale and lager in the way it is brewed, from Bowling Green-based White Squirrel, and was impressed. Nice touch having that on tap right next to the house Kölsch, which also is a solid beer. Cheers.