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Gordon Biersch to close in Mission Valley

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Gordon Biersch was known for its German-style lagers. (John Gastaldo / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ending a 20-year run in San Diego, Gordon Biersch is closing its Mission Valley brewery restaurant, pouring its last pint July 14.

This is the latest closure in the chain, which operates German-style beer halls from coast to coast. CraftWorks, a Colorado-based corporation that bought Gordon Biersch in 2010, last year shuttered outlets in San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, Plano, Tex., and Washington, D.C. It still has nearly two dozen restaurant breweries in 14 states and D.C.

In San Diego, the closure will mean the loss of 79 jobs

The Mission Valley operation opened in November 1998. Doug Hasker, the restaurant brewery’s first and only brewmaster, is one of the senior figures in San Diego’s beer scene. In a region where most breweries focus on ales, Hasker was known for German-style lagers.

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“Doug always jokingly referred to himself as the lager guy in a town of hopheads,” said Tom Nickel, owner of O’Brien’s Pub in Kearny Mesa and owner/brewer at Nickel Beer in Julian. “He said that jokingly, but the rest of us in the brewing community took him seriously. If people wanted to do a lager, he was the go-to guy.”

Some craft beer fans considered Gordon Biersch stodgy and corporate, and sales of beer brewed in Mission Valley are now less than one-third of what they were in 1998. Five years ago, local beer writer Brandon Hernández’s “Complete Guide to San Diego’s Breweries” judged Hasker’s lagers to be “clean, vastly underrated” but “just not exciting.”

Admired for his brewing skills, Hasker was also a stalwart member of the San Diego Brewers Guild.

“There were few people more committed to the betterment of the San Diego beer scene and supporting the people in it than Doug,” Nickel said. “He was just a huge supporter of the scene.”

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Puesto, the upscale Mexican restaurant chain headquartered in San Diego, plans to move into the Mission Valley location this fall. The restaurant will augment its menu of tacos and margaritas with house-brewed beers, using the system installed by Gordon Biersch.

“The Puesto team has been doing cervecería collaborations for years now, working primarily with cervecerías in Mexico to create our own San Diego meets Mexico cervezas,” said Eric Adler, co-owner of Puesto.

“We’ve been looking for a space in San Diego for some time where we could develop our own cerveza program. This new space gives us the opportunity not only to brew, but continue bringing our innovative approach to authentic Mexican flavors to more of our hometown.”

Hasker, 61, declined to comment on the brewery’s closure or his professional plans.

His personal plans? “I’m going to float in a pool with a margarita for two months,” he said.


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