This is the summer you finally get into the sour beer movement. Sour beers have a refreshing tart quality that couples perfectly with endless summer days. If you’ve been latching onto your uber-hopped beers like Gollum to the Ring, then you’re depriving your palate of an entire flavor spectrum. The tart flavors take some getting used to, but once you lock in, a new, electrifying world opens up.
If you’ve been searching for the doorway into the sour beer world, look no further than the Gose.
Gose (pronounced Go-suh) originated in Germany over a thousand years ago. Think about it. Hundreds of years before the Western world knew of North America’s existence, human beings were sipping on Gose.
This ancient beer is low in alcohol and has a tart and salty flavor from its signature ingredients of lactobacillus, coriander and salt. Like Germany itself, the Gose had a tumultuous twentieth century. World War II and the creation of a West and East Germany nearly caused this beer style to become extinct. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the resulting reunification brought the Gose back to the German people.
A growing number of American microbreweries have started brewing their own versions of the Gose. The Gose fits in well with our current artisanal movement in America.
History lesson over, let’s talk taste.
During the hop boil of a Gose, coriander and salt are added, giving the beer its spicy, salty characteristics. The addition of lactobacillus, a “friendly” bacteria, after the boil imparts the tart flavor.
Do not fear Gose’s fusion of sour and salt. It’s mild. It’s wildly refreshing. And it will awaken areas of your palate that a hoppy American ale has never touched.
Since Maine has one of the richest brewing scenes in the country, inevitably there are local breweries experimenting with the Gose.
Last month Rising Tide Brewing released their Gose in four packs, and they continue to pour it on draft in their tasting room. Rising Tide’s Gose has a spicy aroma from coriander. It begins with an easy-drinking tart flavor, and before that overwhelms the tongue, the salty finish kicks in from the Maine seawater used in the brewing process. Like a true Gose, this beer is well-balanced, refined and low in alcohol at 3.4% ABV. Look for can releases of Gose throughout the summer.
Barreled Souls Brewing is another local brewery whose Gose is a must-drink. Space Gose (what a name!) has a slight coriander aroma. The tart flavor is a bit more subdued than Rising Tide’s Gose, while it finishes with stronger salt notes from the Maine sea salt used in the boil. It clocks in at a 4.9% ABV. Space Gose will be available throughout the spring and summer at the Saco tasting room.
Want a Gose that comes from its country of origin? Head to the Bier Cellar and pick up a bottle of Original Ritterguts Gose. It’s brewed in Borna, Germany, has a 93 score on RateBeer.com, and will give you a good sense of the traditional style Gose to compare to our local offerings.
If you’ve been avoiding sour beers or if you’ve never had a beer made with salt, the Gose is your ticket into a thirst-quenching flavor parade that will take your summer beer experience to the next level.
Rising Tide Brewing Company
103 Fox St., Portland | risingtidebrewing.com
ABV: 3.4 percent
AVAILABILITY: At the brewery tasting room and look for can releases throughout the spring and summer
Barreled Souls Brewing Company
743 Portland Road, Saco | facebook.com/barreledsouls
ABV: 4.9 percent
AVAILABILITY: At the tasting room in samples or in growlers
Original Ritterguts Gose from Borna, Germany
Get it at Bier Cellar, 299 Forest Ave., Portland | bier-cellar.myshopify.com/products/ritterguts-gose
ABV: 4.7 percent
Brewery to Be Located in Downtown Lewiston
Kickstarter Page: www.kickstarter.com/projects/833004637/bear-bones-beer
According to their kickstarter video, the brewing duo behind Bear Bones Beer wants to open a Lewiston brewery that keeps the brewing experience at its ‘bare bones.’ They plan to only sell their beer in reusable 750 ml swing-top bottles, focus on quality beer, and create a sustainable brewery. After perfecting their recipes and laying out a business model, Bear Bones Beer is looking to raise $25,000 to make their dream a reality. This is a great way to support local brewing at the grass roots level.
Brewpub Coming to South Portland Knightville Neighborhood
15 Ocean St., South Portland
Julia and Craig Dilger have confirmed the purchase a former repair shop in the Knightville area of South Portland for their future brewpub. Craig Dilger has a strong brewing background. As a homebrewer, he’s been part of many homebrew tours of Portland put on by The Maine Brew Bus. He has also brewed commercially at Lively Brewing in Brunswick. No solid opening date has been announced, but be ready for good beer on tap at 15 Ocean Street, South Portland in the near future.