Summer was made for beer, and this summer, the brew of the moment is a recently rediscovered brew called gose (pronounced GOH-zuh). Crisp, tart, and refreshing, a good gose is to summer what eggnog is to cold weather. So if you’re looking for the perfect beer to bring with you to the beach, gose might be your new best friend.
“Gose is, without a doubt, the new ‘it’ beer style out there right now—and part of craft beer movement’s growing fascination with sours in general,” Tom Bobak, Editor-in-Chief of AmericanCraftBeer.com, tells Maxim.
So what is gose? Let’s get technical for a minute. “A relative of Belgian witbier and the sour Berliner Weisse of northern Germany, gose is known for its bright, lemony tartness and curious-at-first salinity,” John Verive, founder of Beer of Tomorrow explains. “Hazy, thirst-quenching, and relatively low in alcohol, gose gets its signature sour twang from lactobacillus bacteria, and is traditionally spiced with coriander, but it’s that salty tinge in the finish that underlines the style’s uniqueness.”
Don’t think salinity sounds like a good quality in a beer? That’s actually what makes it perfect for hot weather. It’s basically shandy-esque: the Gatorade of beers. “The light salt notes brighten the palate, and the crisp, dry finish is thirst-quenching in summer heat,” Lisa Morrison, aka The Beer Goddess, says.
It’s also a good all-day sipper, so you can keep drinking with a light buzz without getting completely wasted. “ Like the session IPAs that are inundating the marketplace, gose is packed with flavor—yet low in alcohol,” John says. “Refreshing yet complex, both of these styles are perfect for long afternoons drinking outside, but gose won’t scare off beer fans who haven’t developed the taste for hops—which also makes gose a wonderful introductory brew for those people who say, ’I don’t like beer’—its flavor is so unexpected.”
Gose is also a fun palate for brewers to experiment with, which means its variations are nearly endless. “The base beer can be tweaked in countless ways with the addition of different ingredients. It can be soured, have different fruit added to it, or even unusual adjuncts, like potatoes,” Lisa says.
First time trying this brew? Our experts have some recommendations.
Tom suggests Westbrook Brewing’s Gose as a great place to start, calling it “the perfect ‘gateway Gose,’ with just the right hint of spiciness and salt.”
John says that one of his favorite craft examples is Anderson Valley Brewing Co.’s The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose. “The brew captures all of the light, brisk, refreshing nuances of the traditional style,” he explains.
John is also partial to a brew made in the beer’s original home country. “Perhaps my favorite gose these days is actually made by a German craft brewery,” John says. “Freigeist is an experimental brewery based in the traditional beer city of Cologne, and they brew a variety of unique examples in the gose style. Their Geisterzug Gose features the herbal, piney flavors of spruce, alongside the lactic tartness and prickly salt kick, and it is a remarkable combination.” This one might be a little harder to come by, but try ordering it through your local bottle shop.
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