When the editor for 507 sent me an email telling me that gose beers might be a good topic, I laughed! gose beers are virtually unknown and there are hardly any available in Minnesota. gose is a style of beer originated in and near Leipzig, Germany. It is a wheat beer with a tart sour flavor. Like lemonade, but not a Leiny summer shandy Flavor.
It is a unique beer that is gaining traction with the beer cognoscenti. Along with gose style beers, Sour beers are getting more and more popular. Beer geeks love to push the envelope, as they are always trying to find a new and different flavor experience. We need adventurous passionate people in society. Without someone pushing the envelope we can never progress.
In order to write an article, I figure I better drink at least one or two gose beers. Two I tried were the O’Dell’s Brombeere Blackberry gose and the Schell’s Goosetown. Both are similar to the really traditional German style. But they have been adapted to local tastes, and in my mind are more palatable. The O’Dell’s Brombeere is a great balance of sweet and tangy. The blackberry is very present, but does not overpower the other components of the beer. Schell’s Goosetown is slightly salty and has a wheaty flavor. I know you read that last line and thought to yourself, “salt, in a beer?” But yes, the addition of saline or salt flavors really makes the gose style beer come alive. Salt adds a little something to the tartness. It is surprising but good.
Sour beers have been in the marketplace for a little while longer and are a little better known. Rodenbach and Monk’s Café are two great Belgian sour beers.
Along with sour beers, I also consider lambics a good rendition of the style. Lindeman’s is a family company in Belgium started in 1822. They started importing to the U.S. in 1979. The Lindeman lambics are made in a totally old school, unique style. The brewing process can take months if not years. The brewers use no yeast in the process. The only yeast used is totally wild yeast that is floating through the air. The unpredictability of the local yeasts is what makes Lindeman’s so good. It takes two summers of maturation and the lambic is ready. The great flavors are then added to make different styles. The two most popular and tastiest styles are the framboise and the kriek. The framboise is the sweeter strawberry flavor. The kriek is a sour cherry style. The framboise finishes with a clean sweet finish while the sour kiek finishes dry and crisp. Other flavors sometimes available are black currant, pomme (green apple), and peche (peach).
Sour beers and goses will continue to come on the market. Adventurous brewers are always looking for new and unique styles. You can count on the brewing revolution here in the U.S. to take a walk on the wild side and develop something new. Look for your specialty beers anywhere.
Check the Bomber (22 ounces and bigger bottles) section out. Brewers make small batches and many times it is cheaper for them to bottle a few big bottles rather than six or 12 packs. Not to mention that bottle fermentation is easier and typically better in the large format bottles. The Bombers are the perfect way to try and taste new beers with someone else. Which is really what makes beer drinking so good — the camaraderie of sharing a new beer with a new or old friend. Cheers!