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Smoked Beer Dinner at Gordon Biersch

Brewer Matt Redpath taps a ceremonial keg to kick off last fall's Buffalo Beer Week. Photo by Julia Burke.

While most Buffalonians are comfortable with the idea of smoked food and beer as a near-perfect pairing, many may not be aware of the German smoked beer style known as Rauchbier––or of the fact that one of our local breweries, Gordon Biersch, has released its own version of this classic style. Tonight, Gordon Biersch rolls out the red carpet for its newly released Rauch Schwarzbier (smoked black lager) with an exciting menu celebrating all things smoked. Beginning with a chef's salad featuring bacon and a smoked onion-ranch dressing, continuing with smoked fish dip and a trio of smoked meats, and finishing off with creme brulee, each dish paired with a Gordon Biersch specialty, the dinner is a great opportunity to try this fascinating beer style in its element.

Made with the addition of special malted barley dried over an open flame, Rauchbier dates back to the first century BCE and came into mainstream use during the Industrial Revolution. Breweries in Bamberg, Germany, have kept the tradition alive for more than two hundred years, and the style has occasionally popped up at various breweries around the world. Gordon Biersch’s version is a dark style known as Schwarzbier, or “black beer,” a session-friendly lager style conducive to the smoked characteristic of a Rauch. 

Brewer Matt Redpath is no stranger to lesser known beer styles, having brewed up both flagship styles and one-offs for Gordon Biersch since the opening of its Buffalo location and collaborated with Flying Bison on an altbier, or “old beer” (it’s much more appealing than it sounds; the name refers to a longer conditioning process) for Buffalo Beer Week last fall. Modern tributes to centuries-old members of the German beer canon are Redpath’s forte, and this one is sure to please Islay Scotch drinkers, grilled meat enthusiasts, and other lovers of all things smoky.

The dinner takes place tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Gordon Biersch (102 Galleria Drive near the Galleria Mall). Guests can RSVP by email at mredpath@cwrestaurants.com, or they can call the store at 683-0050.

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