Despite only five participants in this month’s Session on the Gose style, the discussion was lively. I led things off with a critique of sorts of what American brewers are doing to the Gose. While I’ve enjoyed a few modern examples of the style, I’m just not a fan of most of the untraditional fruit additions and extra hopping American brewers are injecting into their Goses.
It seems I’ve found a kindred spirit with Alan McCleod, who isn’t a big fan of what brewers are doing with the Gose these days, either. With his typical biting wit, he decries the worst examples of the style as “Gatorade alcopop” or “salty SunnyD” and notes that what’s called a “Gose” these days has little resemblance to the original examples of the style. But it’s not all bad, as Alan states, “In the hands of a thoughtful brewer with a sense of tradition there is a memorable play of wheat, salt and herb that satisfies.”
On the other side of the pond, Boak and Bailey largely disagree. While conceding “a few more straight Goses without fruit and other sprinkles would be nice”, they prefer having a few non-traditional Goses to none at all. They particularly like “Salty Kiss” from UK Brewer Magic Rock, brewed with sea buckthorn, rosehips and English gooseberries. Describing the contemporary Gose style, they declare, “…in general, what German Gose isn’t in the 21st Century is a deeply profound, complex, challenging beer: it’s a fun refresher, no more tangy than a can of Fanta, no saltier than a Jacob’s cream cracker, and with coriander present but hardly obtrusive.”
Josh Hubner over at Lost Lagers muses on the style’s history and how modern brewers are experimenting with the Gose without taking any sides. He notes, “…there is something about a gose that makes it the perfect summer beer, and maybe that’s why it’s found a foothold here in the U.S. It is simultaneously tart, refreshing, light, and – hopefully – just a tad bit salty. Add some fruit to the mix, as is common among craft brewers, and also traditionally (mit schuss, as is also common with Berliner Weisse), and you have the perfect beer for a hot, sunny day.”
Finally, the Beer Nut will have none of this debate. He’s just enjoying a “This Gose” brewed with lemongrass from Fyne Ales, which sent him a sample of along with a smoked salmon as a food pairing. The heavily smoked salad overpowered the Gose, so he found the pairing didn’t work, though the Beer Nut seems to have enjoyed lemon grass addition, which created “…an out-of -character lemon flavour, like lemon meringue pie…..It sits rather oddly next to the other savoury elements of the flavour, but not at all unpleasantly.”
That’s a wrap. At this point, I’d normally direct everyone to the next host for the upcoming Session, but I don’t find one listed. A year ago, Alan McCleod rescued the Session off life support, but with only five contributors this month and no host for next month, it looks like The Session is back in the emergency room. The Session’s had great run, stimulating all sorts of great beer discussion and ideas for years from some of the best beer writers on the planet for years. If this is the end, it was a collective thing of beauty while it lasted.