As everywhere in the fickle world of popular taste, beer styles come and go. Today’s IPA is yesterday’s Pale Ale, tomorrow’s Saison might be today’s IPA, etc., etc.
One of the once-lost styles that seems to have made a comeback in the last year or so is Gose.
So what’s a Gose? And how do you even pronounce it?
Second question first. It’s pronounced “goes-uh.” Yeah, I’d feel kinda dumb ordering it, too, if I didn’t know.
Regarding style, from Beer Advocate:
“Gose is an unfiltered wheat beer made with 50-60% malted wheat, which creates a cloudy yellow color and provides a refreshing crispness and twang. A Gose will have a low hop bitterness and a complementary dryness and spice from the use of ground coriander seeds and a sharpness from the addition of salt. Like Berliner Weisse beers, a Gose will sometimes be laced with various flavored and colored syrups. This is to balance out the addition of lactic acid that is added to the boil.”
Or, from the German Beer Institute:
“Gose is an ancient, sour and saline tasting ale, made from more than half malted wheat and the rest malted barley. The brew is fermented with both yeast and lactic bacteria and is spiced with both coriander and hops. It is brewed with slightly salted water. This peculiar beer style is now most closely associated with Leipzig, the capital of the German State of Saxony.”
Or, from the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines:
“(Gose is a) highly-carbonated, tart and fruity wheat ale with a restrained coriander and salt character and low bitterness. Very refreshing, with bright flavors and high attenuation.”
So class, first question: what one unusual character, trait, or ingredient stands out in all of these descriptions?
That’s right — salt.
Forget the Tecate (for a lot of reasons). Goses (gosii?) have a salt character built into them, whether added directly or brewed using purposefully salty water.
Now, Gose flavor profiles can vary within the style pretty much as any beer in any style, depending on the variables the brewer chooses. Very generally, though, I think of them as maybe a Saison with a salty/sour kick.
But take my description with a, um, grain of salt (sorry). For my vast Gose experience consists of all of one beer — Anderson Valley Brewing’s The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose Ale.
It may be because I’m just not a sour person (well, actually I am, just not when it comes to beer), but I wasn’t a fan. And please, this is no reflection on AVBC. I’ve interviewed Fal Allen here, he’s a great guy who makes fantastic beers. But based on this one sample, I can’t say I’m a Gose guy. I loved the fruitiness, but it was just too salty for me.
I guess I’ll need to do more research. Tough gig, but it has to be done. I mean, I can’t malign an entire style based on one sample, right? How fair is that?
[BTW, those in the “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BEER STYLES” camp, I can hear you screaming from here. I get it. But, in order to make sense of this vast Beerverse, we need to organize things somehow. And if grouping beers with similar characteristics and calling those characteristics “styles” helps us do that, than so be it.]
Up next: you say Gose, I say … Gueze?