Pray for me, Commentists. Tomorrow, I’ll begin an entire month without alcohol, a wholly voluntary and possibly stupid exercise in self-denial that’s become a yearly tradition for me. It can be a bit of a pain in the ass at times, but it’s hard to argue with the results: I lose a ton of weight, I sleep like a damn log, and I give my beleaguered liver the rest it needs so it can keep processing new and exciting beers for me well into my old age. Plus, I get to harangue my friends, neighbors, and fellow Commentists about how “I wish I could have a beer, but…” for four weeks and change, and let’s face it, that’s the real reward here.
In preparation for this, I’m clearing out as much fridge space as possible tonight, and what’s in there at this point is mostly goses.
Gose is a German ale style that was extinct or close to it until, I don’t know, about seven years ago? Traditionally it’s a wheat beer with salt added, fermented with domestic ale yeast and lactobacillus bacteria, the latter of which give it a tart, lemony flavor. Occasionally, when I have one of these, I suspect that the brewer has skipped the salt, which is disappointing because it’s both the thing that really makes a gose pop and the thing that makes a gose not just a Berliner weisse. Goses are a staple in my fridge because they tend to be intensely flavorful but not overly strong (anywhere from 3% to 5.5%), making them ideal for long drinking sessions. I like them, and lady snow loves them, and tonight I’m going to tell you about four of them.
First up is Prairie Flare, which probably hews the closest of the four to “ordinary wheat beer.” Prairie’s even added coriander and orange peel to this one, ingredients more typical of a Belgian-style witbier, but they suit this mildly tart ale just fine. Flare is a light, easy drinker that probably won’t challenge you, but won’t bore you either.
Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose also uses coriander, but dispenses with the orange peel and throws in the whole damn orange instead. It’s a perfect complement to the beer’s strong tartness. There’s also more than a hint of yogurt to Blood Orange Gose, which is probably the best mark of a really well-made beer in this style. It’s nice to see the lactobacillus delivering something more than simple sourness. Objectively, I’d say this is the best gose of the bunch, and one of the best out there.
Sierra Nevada Otra Vez is much sweeter than the others, a variance I’m chalking up to its use of prickly pear cactus fruit. I’ve never actually had prickly pear cactus fruit myself, but the other addition, grapefruit, seems much less likely to be the culprit. This isn’t quite what I’m looking for from the style, but I can definitely see it being a hit with folks looking for a less intense beer.
Destihl Here Gose Nothin’ stands in contrast to the rest as real explosion of sour. It’s got no ingredients beyond those dictated by the style, and yet it’s probably too over-the-top for me to see it as any more “traditional” than the others. That said, who cares about traditional? This is an aggressively lip-puckering beer, and it rocks my face off.
That’s all I’ve got for now. We’ve got a good slate of guest reviewers set for the next month, and I’ll see you all in June!
make it snow is an alot of beer. He’ll put a picture on this post later, probably.