Monday, September 2, 2013

Westbrook Brewing Gose Review

Gose (pronounced “GOES-uh”) is a German style sour whitbier brewed with coriander and salt.  First brewed in the early 16th century, its popularity waned and it almost went extinct after World War II (apparently that can happen if no one bothers to write down the recipe).  Today gose is alive and kicking in the Lowcountry thanks to the always creative and historically appreciative minds over at Westbrook. 

The Westbrook Gose is the first sour beer I’ve ever had, and I had no idea what to expect.  I knew what sour beers were, and was told to stay away from them, but didn’t even know the Gose fell into that category of nefarious brews.  I just knew that Westbrook came out with a new beer and when that happens its usually worth getting excited about.  My significant other was jonesin’ for some tequila early one Saturday morning so we hit Total Wine and that’s where I bought two 12oz single cans of the stuff.

I imagined this to taste like a regular wheat beer.  But after cracking the tab I took a deep sniff and was nearly knocked over by the strong citrus scent.  Ok, so maybe it’s more like a shandy.  I took a healthy glug and my face about turned itself inside out; it was like biting into a lemon that had been jammed with Sour Patch Kids.  Yea, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but it was just so far off from anything I’d ever tasted that was still supposed to be considered a beer.  My initiation into the sour beer subcategory was a baptism by fire. 

While I was initially put off because it was just so foreign to me, I ended up finding it incredibly interesting and really began to embrace the complex tastes.  After I made it through the first can I immediately cracked open the second.  As mentioned it is sour, yes, but also uniquely salty, a taste that was very refreshing on a hot sticky day.  The aftertaste is very bitter, a lingering sour that at first may seem intrusive, but quickly mellows into a smooth, cold sensation where the subtle coriander makes its presence known.  In football terms, I’d call this a nice third-down, change-of-pace beer.  It may not be your reliable go-to brew, but is a great option for mixing it up when you need a spark.  I suggest serving this as cold as possible, preferably in a hot and sunny setting; pack a few in your cooler the next time you head to the beach.  Spread the word that the gose is back by having your friends give it a try; just be sure they know what they’re getting in to.


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