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Drink614: Among disappointing chain breweries, Gordon Biersch delivers

Drink614: Among disappointing chain breweries, Gordon Biersch delivers

Steve Croyle

It’s easy to dismiss Gordon Biersch these days.  So many “chain” brewers tend to be a disappointment.

Some don’t really brew on site, and those that do, use extract recipes assembled at a corporate warehouse.

It’s OK, but with so many great local brewers cranking out great beer, it’s just not worthwhile.

The thing you need to remember, however, is that Gordon Biersch is a real brewery and these days, the suits at the corporate headquarters realize that they have to turn their brewers loose.


Matt Crema started brewing at Rock Bottom Brewery in Chicago. He started busing tables and washing dishes all the while begging to get some time in the brewhouse.

When the GB location in Columbus found out Dan Griffin was leaving, Matt was tapped to move to Columbus.  It’s a decision he’s really happy with.

“I’ve only been here a few months, and I’m very busy so I don’t get around as much as I’d like, but I really like what Columbus has to offer,” he said.

Matt decided to bring his IPA game to Columbus and he’s produced two very good offerings.

The first is a classic take on the West Cost IPA. It’s a defly balanced beer with an easy drinking body and a clean, dry finish. The piney notes of American hops shine through.

He’s also got a hazy New England Style IPA that is markedly better than some of the more ballyhooed offerings kicking around town. It’s a tough style for a brewer who wants a clean beer that will maintain some stability in the serving tank, but Matt seems to have the formula down. Minor tweaks will follow in subsequent batches.

The brewhouse at Gordon Biersch, however, is a German-made system that excels at producing German lagers, goses, and clean golden ales, and because Gordon Biersch still wants to pay homage to its German roots, Matt’s brewing plenty of German beers that are everything you want in the style.

This summer is great opportunity to check out the Clippers, and enjoy pints at Gordon Biersch. The beer is worth the trip. Matt’s a damned fine brewer, whose star is only going to rise.


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