What you should know about the curious style that has beer lovers divided
Gose brings up conflicting feelings amongst beer fans. Some swear that it is the ideal crushable refreshment to soothe parched pallets on sweltering hot summer days. Others find it thoroughly and reprehensibly undrinkable; I’ve personally seen someone pour a glass down the sink, I’ve seen another knowingly overpay for a pint. To be honest I struggle with my true feelings on Gose (pronounced Gos/uh).
This peculiar German style from the town of Goslar located in Leipzig is a top-fermented beer that is brewed with roughly 50% - 60% malted wheat and often 40 percent or less pilsner malt. They tend to include German noble hops (10 to 15 IBUs) and altbier or Kölsch yeast. A Gose typically possess a low hop bitterness that is accompanied by a certain degree of dryness, spice (generally from coriander) and of course a noticeable lactic sourness.
The legend tells us that the mineral-rich Gose River waters, integral to the brewing process, contributed to some of that unique Gose flavor. This water provided the base for what would become Gose, a drink that had the Bavarian region of Saxony buzzing as far back as 1239, the year of the first recorded mention of Gose from the first duke of Brunswick- Lüneburg, Duke Otto von Braunschweig (www.beerconnoisseur.com).
Centuries later, the geo political climate caused by two devastating world wars halted the production of Gose almost entirely. By 1966, the last remaining brewer making gose in Leipzig closed. The gose went dormant for twenty years until a man named Lothar Goldhahn came along.
In 1986, three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lothar Goldhahn refurbished a historic Leipziger pub, the Ohne Bedenken (‘Without consideration’). Initially his revived Gose, was contract brewed at the Schultheiss brewery in East Berlin. After German reunification, Goldhahn had his own brewery for a while, then contracted to the Andreas Schneider brewery in Weissenburg, Bavaria (no relation to the more famous Schneider Weissbier brewery in Kelheim), who were clearly prepared to be flexible about the Reinheitsgebot (www.desdemoor.co.uk).
Over the past couple of years the gose has inspired local craft brewers to experiment with their own versions of this beer. Not quite as popular as IPA’s from a sales standpoint, gose’s are gaining steam amongst aficionados. There are those that revel in the lactic sourness and hail its unique qualities, for others it conjures nauseating similarities to something akin to spoiled beer.
I’ve had gose’s I’ve enjoyed and I’ve had some I wish I never ordered. I can’t say that I love the style nor do I hate it. I know this is a cop out but I can tell you without hesitation that it is most certainly an acquired taste. This isn’t the type of beer that you’d recommended as an introduction to craft beer.
The final verdict is don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s for that matter. Look up your local breweries and see which one has a gose on tap, these days it’s a craft beer buzz word so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Go buy yourself a taste and lets us know what you think?
Comment below on where you stand on the gose debate? Delicious libation or sour grossness? Let us know.
P.S. I'm very excited to share that I will be embarking on another chapter of the BTBT craft beer odyssey. My wife and kids know me so well that for fathers day they bought me the Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Kit, Everyday IPA. They are awesome! Rachael and I will be brewing for the very first time and I'll be chronicling my experiences in next weeks blog. Perhaps this could be the start of a legendary brewing career but if I suck at it I'll stick to the blog and podcast!
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