Those about to hockey, we salute you
The Gordon Biersch family of bar/restaurants sprang up fairly early in the microbrewpub revolution of Northern California during the late '80s. Our local version anchors the northern Arena District. Outside, there's a generous patio that provides primo arena-ambling people-watching and frequently live music. Inside, GB aims for a snazzier ambience than your standard-issue brewpub - and mostly achieves it. Its carved-up, rambling interior is sleek and modern, with a roomy bar area, walls of windows and relaxed lighting.
Gordon Biersch's current batch of distinct, mostly Germanic-styled lagers certainly claim a palate's attention. There's the dry and hoppy Czech Lager; a mildly sweet and malty, quick-quaffing Marzen Bier; a food-friendly, black-hued yet light-bodied Schwarzbier; a Hefeweizen aromatic with clove and banana; and, recently, a seasonal and wildly citrus-happy, fizzy Weiss Bier. If your tongue is bored by those nifty sips, it must've gotten drowned in suds long, long ago.
Gordon Biersch's food mostly suits its style and mood. That translates into a few upscale Cal-Ital and Asian influences seeping into a nice selection of pizzas, sandwiches (with garlic fries) and some higher-ticket steak and seafood entrees.
For something casual to chew on while vacuuming back GB's lagers, try: fried artichokes - a soft, crumbly and cheesy batter embraces a teetering platter of rather good-sized hearts, or the rib appetizer - meaty mini-bones get heavily slathered with a finger-staining, tangy barbecue sauce spiked with GB's Marzen bier.