As craft beer grows in popularity many breweries are resurrecting forgotten beer styles. One such style is the classic Gose, pronounced “goes-uh,” a crisp, refreshing salty beer that’s perfect for summer.
While the idea of salt in a beer may seem strange, one sip from a Gose and that strange idea becomes a beacon of “why didn’t I try this earlier?”
The style has a rich German history first brewed in the town of Goslar more than 1,000 years ago. The name itself comes from the river Gose that runs through the town. The local water had a large contribution on the beer’s flavor.
While the style was a huge success in the town for a long period of time in the 1800s it fell out of favor. Thankfully the town of Leipzig, Germany grabbed the torch and carried the style forward to today. Gose is still the most popular beer style in Leipzig but only recently has it become popular elsewhere in the world.
Gose is moderately sour, crisp, and has a slight hint of salt and spiciness from coriander in the background. Many citrus flavors such as lemon and grapefruit are present, but other fruit flavors are added. Bitterness should be very low and the mouthfeel is dry and refreshing with a fair amount of carbonation. They are also low alcohol beers and tend to range between 4-5 percent ABV, making them great beers to enjoy while doing yard work.
The style has become quite the darling in the American craft beer scene with a number of breweries offering year round or spring/summer seasonal variations.
Here is a short list of great Gose beers to try:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company- The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose: At 4.2% ABV this beer packs a ton of flavor in a small can. Fruity notes of lemon zest, guava, peach and tropical fruit settle into a refreshing tartness. Flavors are followed by a slight sea salt dryness and lemon sourness with hints of coriander. The finish is dry, effervescent, and tangy, reminiscent of a fresh sea breeze. Anderson Valley offers a seasonal variation, Blood Orange Gose, in the fall.
DESTIHL Brewery- Here Gose Nothin’: A sweet Gose with strong fruity esters of lemon and lime balanced with sea salt and coriander. This beer is spontaneously fermented which imparts a stronger sour note than some of the other Gose beers. DESTIHL Brewery has a wide array of great beers in its Wild Sour series that are delicious, and available in cans.
Westbrook Brewing Company- Gose: Westbrook’s Gose came on strong when first released in 2012. It has wonderful fruit notes of tart lemon balanced perfectly with sea salt and coriander. The very light 4 % ABV is perfect for a beer such as this and it is great on a hot summer day and is very refreshing. A definite must try if you are looking for a gateway beer in the Gose style.
It is easy to see why Gose is becoming popular among craft beer drinkers. If you have not tried this beer style yet, but are a fan of all things sour, then do yourself a favor and try it today.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.