This month, the San Jose-based brewer and his partner, Dean Biersch, are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., famous for its German lager, garlic fries and upscale but casual restaurants.
What are you doing to honor 20 years in the business? We're having a slew of events, beginning with special dinners this week and ending Saturday with a huge bash from noon to 7 p.m. at the Gordon Biersch Brewery and Bottling Facility in San Jose. Gregg Rolie, formerly of Santana, and Carlos Reyes — he's amazing, he plays violin and Paraguayan harp — are appearing.
To what do you attributeyour success? We've really had hands-on expertise. I had a great education at the Harvard of brewing schools in Munich, and my partner Dean had a rock-solid restaurant background.
Have you seen changes in the industry through the years? Yes, consumers are more sophisticated — they know the difference between ale and lager — and expectations are higher.
What's the secret behind your garlic fries? Well, fresh garlic and olive oil are a huge part of it.
What do you think of the increasing interest in Belgian beer recently? The Belgian beer is all imported. For educated drinkers, local and fresh is the way to go. I prefer the authentic, craft brew made right here in California.
What are you looking forward to? Our mission is to expand our distribution; we are going international. A Gordon Biersch restaurant is opening in Taiwan.
Do you ever drink a Budweiser, just for the heck of it? Never. I drink what I make; I never get tired of it. I have a tap at home. Most brewers are like that; it's the artisan factor.