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I’m constantly amazed at the way American craft brewers are able to revisit and resurrect strange, ancient European beer styles – even ones that have been out of favor for centuries. Braggots, gruits, sahtis – all of these oddball styles have come into the craft scene, and they’re always at least interesting (and sometimes awesome). Recently coming into the spotlight is Gose, an ancient German style of wheat beer made with coriander seeds and sea salt. Gose dates back to the early 16th century and, thanks in part to the addition of lactobacillus bacteria, falls into the broad category of sours.
A GOSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…
“Gose” may not be a household word, but a few breweries have seen success with it in the last year or two. The most recent is Downingtown’s Victory Brewing, which last month released Kirsch Gose – a Gose flavored with sour cherries. I’m rarely a fan of cherries in general (especially where beer is concerned) but I found the Kirsch Gose to be quite tasty. It pours a rich red color, and there’s a ton of cherry in the nose. But on the palate, it’s far from a cherry bomb. The flavor is pleasantly sour, with some salty brine in the finish – and the cherry notes are balanced and subtle enough that the brew doesn’t taste like cough syrup, as so many cherry beers do. Like any Gose, this one is effervescent, light and quenching – perfect for warmer weather.
If you find you like Victory’s Kirsch Gose, you’ll probably want to hunt down other examples of the style. You’re in luck – not only are there several great options out there for Gose aficionados, but the low alcohol content of the style (4-5 percent ABV) means you can have several in one session. For example, California’s Anderson Valley makes two, both of which are excellent – The Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose Ale is a more traditional example of the style, and their Blood Orange Gose Ale has a lovely citrus flavor. And don’t miss Jammer, a Gose coming this month from Brooklyn’s outstanding Sixpoint Brewery. Gose may be an old style, but it may turn out to be your new favorite spring flavor
Do you love to pucker up for some sour beer? Which sour is your favorite?