In the Mix

Gordon Biersch offers guide to help with food, beer picks

August 24th, 2016
COURTESY GORDON BIERSCHGordon Biersch Honolulu brewmaster Jeff Liles with some of the beers he's responsible for producing at the Aloha Tower restaurant.


Gordon Biersch Honolulu brewmaster Jeff Liles with some of the beers he's responsible for producing at the Aloha Tower restaurant.

It’s unfortunate so many craft beer fans look at the corporate ownership of Gordon Biersch and somehow take that to mean the rank-and-file brewmasters at each restaurant don’t know to make beer worth getting excited about.

In reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Long before Honolulu residents enjoyed beer brewed on-site by other locally owned businesses, Gordon Biersch set up shop at Aloha Tower Marketplace and has consistently served quality beer in the same location for the last 20 years.

Longtime brewmaster Jeff Liles started at Gordon Biersch Honolulu as a server before he was tapped to study the science of making beer at California’s American Beer Guild. You might not see him from your barstool overlooking Honolulu Harbor, but his influence flows freely from each of the restaurant’s taps. Along with perennial favorites like the Golden Export, Marzen and Coconut Stout, beer fans who haven’t paid Gordon Biersch a visit lately should be excited to see even more variety these days, including their versions of a German kolsch, Belgian triple and Czech pilsner.

Besides the beer, Gordon Biersch is also making the effort to better educate its customers on food pairings. Instead of just overwhelming customers with a menu full of different items, the chain developed a new guide with recommendations of different food items to go with each type of beer served.

According to Gordon Biersch senior director of brewery operations Tom Dargen, the new guide “will enhance the dining experience for our guests and offer them insight into the Gordon Biersch brewing process.”

While brewmasters in different markets are encouraged to develop their own take on each of Gordon Biersch’s featured beer styles, the new pairings guide is designed to connect each beer with chef-driven menu items featuring made-from-scratch recipes that were introduced in 2015.

Categories in the pairings guide include:

» Hoppy: Beers that emphasize the contribution of the hop flower that are higher in bitterness with accentuated spicy, fruity, herbal, floral or piney aromas.

» Fruity and Spicy: Unique flavors from fermentation are the hallmark of this category. Fruits such as apples, bananas, cherries and oranges can be combined with spices of pepper, cloves and coriander.

» Light and Refreshing: Select this type of beer style when looking for a refreshing beer that will cleanse the palate; these types of beers will also complement lighter dishes.

» Malty: These beers highlight sweet, caramel, toffee and nutty characteristics and are the perfect companion to almost all foods in that they offer great balance.

» Dark: Beers that derive their dark color and sweet flavor from the use of roasted malts. This style of beer best complements chocolate and other dessert-like flavors.

Want more help in learning how to pair food with beer? Gordon Biersch Honolulu will host a special beer and menu pairing from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the restaurant. Call (808) 599-4877 for more information.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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