Brewery: Westbrook (NC)
I first read about the gose style of beer sometime around two years ago, when adding salt to a fermentation still seemed strange to me. If you have not yet discovered the style for yourself, it is a close cousin (a sibling, even) of Berliner Weisse, soured using the same methods, but given an extra kick with coriander and sea salt. Back then, I had never seen a single gose on tap in a bar, and after searching for weeks, could only find one example in bottles — bottles which were all covered in a thick layer of dust.
Now, here I am in the fall of 2013, and the superheroes at Westbrook Brewing have released their gose in cans. Yes, that's right: an American gose that comes in sixpacks of cans. My god, what a beautiful world we live in.
The aroma is full of that ripe, succulent lacto sourness, the opening notes that I look for in a really juicy Berliner. But honestly, there's really no way to describe a beer like this unless you've already had something similar: the flavors are intense, and intensely their own. Spice and funk meld beautifully, and provide a nose as vivid as that of any IPA.
"Juicy" is probably the shortest way to describe this, though it doesn't capture everything. Westbrook Gose hits the obvious notes of a lactic sour beer — lemon, citrus — but is rounded out by the coriander in the end, finishing bright and tangy and dry. One expects sour beers to have a bit of fruit nuance to them, if only because of the acidity, and this gose brings out some intriguing notes of guava and passionfruit. The salt adds a musty, briny saltwater quality — it's not intense, and you may even miss it if you aren't looking for it, but it is delightful. This has one foot in the ocean, the other in a... well, let's say a shipping container of tropical fruit. I can't think of a more refreshing combination. I could drink this anywhere, but it seems absolutely magical paired with a brisk hike, or a trip to the beach.
The fact that there is now a gose available in sixpacks of cans may be one of the greatest achievements of human culture in 2013. Of course it helps that it is a tremendous beer, perfect for all occasions, and something I plan to drink a great deal more of in the future.
Availability: Westbrook Gose seems to have recently transition from a rotating release to a year-round, now that they're canning it. Available in sixpacks of cans, like a champ.