Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bayerischer Bahnhof - Leipziger Gose Review

Brewery: Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof (GER)
Style: Gose / Sour Beer
ABV: 4.6%
Grade: B+

You may rightly wonder: what the hell is a Gose? It is undoubtedly one of the most obscure styles out there today. As of buying and reviewing this (events which took place about four months apart) I have still yet to see another Gose in bottles in the New York area. So what is it? Gose are similar to wit beers — they're wheat based, and in this case, faintly spiced with coriander. They're also closely related to the Berliner Weisse style, as they feature a tart, dry, lactic acid character.

However, the style's defining attribute is the inclusion of salt in the recipe — enough salt to create something with a unique mouthfeel and body, but just below the threshold that humans can actually "taste." (So, you know, a Gose shouldn't taste like salt-water.)

All that — a tart sour mash wheat beer with salt — probably sounds very odd, but it's much subtler than you'd think and actually works quite well. While the nose is full of bright, fruity Lactobacillus funk, there's much less sourness in the taste than in your average Berliner Weisse (which is already very mellow on the scale of sours.) Instead, Leipziger Gose hits like a very dry wit beer, with a smooth and gentle tartness. A vague fruitiness is followed up by some citric, lemony character — though in general, this remains surprisingly smooth and clean. The coriander is faint and well administered. The salt isn't so much a flavor as a tingling on the palate, a slight suggestions that mildly alters the body of the beer and enhances its dryness.

It's sad that this style is on the verge on extinction. This is an extremely drinkable, accessible beer, and both more complex and more thirst-quenching than just about any wit I've had. Gose might be harder and more time-consuming to brew than, say, Hoegaarden, but they deserve be equally as popular.

Availability: Somewhat hard to find. Individual 12 ounce bottles.

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