Sours can be an intimidating corner of the craft beer landscape. Even someone who’s been a beer geek for decades (like me) can have a hard time coming to grips with a world of beer where the predominant flavors can range from intense acidity to a curious saltiness. But once you take the plunge, as I did a couple of years ago, getting into sours can be like getting into beer all over again – there’s a whole new world of flavors out there to explore. So this month, I’ve decided to take a look at a sour brew that’s perfect for summer – the Gose. As a side bonus, this light, sessionable style is also the perfect gateway into the wider world of sours.
Ready Set Gose (Uinta)
The Gose is an ancient German style that traditionally includes coriander, sea salt and lactic acid. It’s known for a crisp, slightly sour taste with a hint of brininess from the sea salt. And Ready Set Gose, from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Co., is a nice introduction to the style. It’s accurate enough that you can taste both the coriander and the salt, but the lemony sourness isn’t as puckering as you’ll find in some Goses.
Blood Orange Gose (Anderson Valley)
If you’d like a less traditional entry point, California-based Anderson Valley makes a great Gose that benefits from a liberal dose of blood oranges. The fruity flavors are both sweet and sour, yet they don’t overpower the saltiness. Overall, this beer is a masterful balancing act of wonderful, seemingly contradictory flavors.
Otra Vez (Sierra Nevada)
Speaking of wonderful flavors, Sierra Nevada – among the OGs of the craft brewing world – recently jumped on board the Gose revival with Otra Vez, a beer that contains both grapefruit and prickly pear cactus. This might be the first beverage I’ve ever consumed that contains cactus juice (though I suppose it isn’t far removed, biologically, from agave). Otra Vez boasts the expected salt and citric tartness, but also a curious sweetness, which comes from either the grapefruit or the cactus – I’m honestly not sure which. Regardless, it’s quenching and refreshing. This one might be too odd for some palates – or it just might be your perfect path to a whole new realm of sour beer flavors.