I have been into sours a lot lately. There are a few beer styles that produce a sour taste, but there is one that goes as far as adding a hint of saline to that sourness: the Gose (gose-uh).
It is a very uncommon style with only one or two in ABC-land, but I find it very refreshing especially on a hot summer day–like a nice lemonade. A Gose is consisted of half malted wheat and half malted barley. It is fermented with yeast and lactic bacteria to give it the sourness, and it is finished with coriander and light-tasting hops.
The saltiness come from slightly salty water used as the base for the beer. It originated in Leipzig, the capital of the German state of Saxony. It is known for a tall, firm head from the concentrated protein in the wheat, and it is often served in the traditional straight cylindrical glass or like the Berliner Weisse style with a shot of raspberry or woodruff syrup.
I prefer the puckering sourness.
A while back, Sam Adams had a rare style series that featured a Gose. Currently, Anderson Valley features their Kimmie, Yink, and Holy Gose with a blood orange version. I have also had the privilege of sampling Westbrook Brewing Company’s highly rated and well done version of the style. The Anderson Valley Gose is slightly more salty but both have great flavor, and the blood orange version adds a wonderful citrus backdrop to the forward sourness. All three come in six-pack cans.
I have noticed a trend in sours to my liking. Evil Twin has one called Sour Bikini, which is a blend of their Bikini Beer Session IPA and lactic bacteria. Uinta has 21st Birthday Suit, a sour wild ale, which is an ale fermented spontaneously with different souring bacteria. Goose Island has “The Sisters,” which are all farmhouse/wild ales with different degrees of funky and sourness.
If you like very tart beer, give the Kimmie a try and prepare for a lemonhead pucker.
Adam Shugan, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant – Gainesville
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