Gose is a classic German wheat ale that dates back to the early 1700s. It was named for the Gose river that runs thru Saxony. Gose is a great style, regardless what this nitwit thinks. You’ll hear several pronunciations among beer fans, but the most traditional is “Goes-uh.” Say it like “rose,” then tack on the “uh.”
It’s refreshing, salty, tart and juicy. It may sound like an odd combination of flavors, but they work so well together. If you loved SweetTarts as a kid, you’ll love Gose. Gose is not as sour as most other sour beers, so it can be a great way to introduce sour beer to the uninitiated. It is perfect on a hot sunny day and is one of the best lawnmower beers you’ll ever find. Gose gets its tartness from lactic acid and saltiness from added salts. Cilantro, Coriander or other herbs and spices may also be added.
Gose can be straw yellow to golden amber, measuring in at 3-9 SRM.* Hop bitterness is low, and often undetectable, with low IBUs* from 10-15. Gose has a low ABV* of 4.4-5.4%, making it a great, sessionable summer beer.
You can’t talk about Gose in America without Westbrook being in the conversation. Full disclosure… Westbrook Gose from South Carolina is one of my favorite beers. It pours a hazy, orangish yellow with aromas of salt, coriander and tart acidity. From start to finish, it’s tart and salty, with a gentle sweetness. There are tangy citrus flavors of lemon and oranges. There is a water cracker flavor in the malt. It all works together to make one of the best beers you’ll ever drink on a hot summer day.
From the other side of the country, Anderson Valley in California makes a fine Gose in their own right. The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose is delicious in it’s own right. It’s nearly the same color as Westbrook’s but is crystal clear. The aroma has an earthy quality, you don’t get much saltiness or sourness. Its tartness is mostly on the backend, you don’t notice it much at the start. The flavors are richer, more bready, and there is a touch of hop bitterness. It’s drier, you don’t get the sweetness the Westbrook has.
Both are delicious while showing very different examples of the style. They have similar flavors, yet are completely different beers. If you can find either one, buy them! Anderson Valley can be found throughout the US, while Westbrook is mostly in the Southeast.
If you’re going on a Gose hunt, check out Leipziger Gose, the most authentic German version widely available in America. Some other great Goses are Jackalope Casper the Friendly Gose, Cascade’s rotating seasonal Goses, Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, Boulevard Hibiscus Gose or Upright Gose.
Gose is a delicate beer and will be easily overpowered by most foods. Keep it light. Match the intensity of the food and the beer. Whether you choose a complementary or contrasting food, work off the salty and sour flavors. Goses with lemon citrus tartness will work well with salads, with the crisp, tart beer cutting through rich dressing. For a big dinner, keep Gose near the front with salads or light appetizers. Goses also works well with light meals like brunch.
If you can find one, a Leipziger Gose glass is perfect. It’s a tall, narrow straight glass that’s similar to a traditional Kolsch glass, but taller. And as always, a tulip glass is always the perfect choice when you’re unsure what glass to use.
*Standard Reference Method (color)
*International Bitterness Units (hop alpha-acid utilization)
*Alcohol by Volume
2015 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association. (I usually use the quantitative specifications from the BJCP Style Guide, but the BJCP guide doesn’t contain Gose. Yet.)