“I don’t feel too old to be in here”, said my friend Stacy as she was surveying all that is the NEW Gordon Bierch Brewery & Restaurant. This sentiment was expressed several times by the opening night crowd this past Saturday Night. They seemed genuinely pleased to have a spot more suited to the 35-50 year old set as opposed to trying to hang in some of the under 30 clubs at the downtown entertainment district. So as I sat and contemplated the need and/or wisdom of "should we have another bar on 4th Street Live?", the feedback I kept getting from friends and co-workers was a resounding : YES!
The New Gordon Bierch occupies the space once help by Border’s Bookstore on 4th Street, but you’d be hard pressed to recognize it. The sleek, modern, wood and metal interior is right out of the play book for the fun, trendy version of a brew pub. The exterior as been handsomely adapted to fit into 4th street while still adding it own atmosphere with an street side dining and bar area. Plus a wonderful outdoor fireplace, which was so inviting the cool night we visited for a preview.
While the décor is a focal point, Gordon Bierch is all about the beer. The chain of 37 restaurants started on July 6, 1988 when the first Gordon Biersch opened in Palo Alto, California and now boast operations in the United States and Taiwan. The location on 4th features a brew area and the beer list boasts beers that are “brewed here”. German style lagers and ales are the specialty of Gordon Bierch. I sampled two beers while there, The MÄRZEN, a Bavarian style lager that’s just a touch sweet but smooth. It was my favorite of the two. The other was a Hefeweizen, a more traditional German wheat beer.
The Menu is filled, I mean literally filled, with selections. The entrées boast everything from a Brew House Chicken ($15.50) to a Gorgonzola Bone-in 18 oz. Rib eye ($28.50). It was difficult to get a true taste of the menu since the preview party I attended consisted of samples from the starters section and other select features. I will mention their Rosemary Sweet Potato fries with brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese dipping sauce…they were great.
I know some beer snobby friends, who love the local brew pubs, will snark about the “chain brewery” coming to town. I know some foodie followers will protest that it’s not a local sourced eatery.
However, I found it better than expected. I think it will be a better replacement for downtown workers that have been missing Red Star Tavern as a higher end lunch spot. I also believe it will draw a bit older demographic to 4th Street Live, which I know is a goal for them. Overall, I give Gordon Bierch a very solid B.
Photos by George Lindsey & Gordon Bierch