No exploration of a beer style is complete without actually drinking beer, especially a style as complex as gose. I lured Vulcanized writers and friends into my home with the promise of “free” beer and pizza. (I put a donations jar out, but no one noticed it. That’s fine. I’m not bitter. Really.)
Beers were rated in two categories: “Beeriness” and “Tart, Herbs, Salt.” (Admittedly, my beer tasting category naming skills could use improvement.) Beeriness was meant to mean, simply, the quality of the beer: Are its flavors balanced, does it smell good, look good, taste good? The other category — Tart, Herb, Salt — was more specific to gose: Does it have a present coriander and herb flavor, is it appropriately salty and sour?
In each category, the beers were given a number from zero to three, ranging from “shit” to “dope.” Those two numbers were then added together to get the beer’s total score. In the case of ties, the beer with the higher score in “Beeriness” was declared the winner.
Really, I just wanted to make things as hard as possible for myself and everyone involved.
Let’s jump right in.
First, I wanted to get an idea of everyone’s level of beer experience. Half the folks present had already tried gose before, and, of that half, one hundred percent had liked it — a good sign. More often than not, I’ve only seen most of these folks with Milwaukee’s Best Ice in hand. (No offense, guys.)
With that subtly judgmental question out of the way, it was on to the tasting.
7th Place: Stillwater Artisanal Ales — Moneytree$
It was impossible not to put Money Trees on as we cracked into this one. This beer from Baltimore had a hip can, but opinions were split when it came to the quality of the liquid it contained. Responses ranged from “favorite one so far” to “not a fan of grapefruit, ya bish.” And so, Moneytree$ came in last place on our list.
6th Place: Two Roads Brewing Company — Two Evil Geyser Gose
Another hip can, another split decision on its contents. This beer, which is a collaboration between Two Roads and Evil Twin, was reviewed as being “very meh” and “definitely not something I could drink all day,” but one of our most experienced beer drinkers in the group proclaimed that it was a good representation of the style. I enjoyed it, personally. Still, it came in second to last place.
5th Place Hoppin’ Frog Brewery — King Gose Home
Now we come to the only local (to Akron, OH) gose I could find, and possibly the only one brewed here. With this beer, which was named in honor of Lebron James returning to Ohio, the tasters were all starting to like what they were drinking. The tamest response to this beer was that it fits all style guidelines for a gose, the most excited: “Hooray!”
(FULL DISCLOSURE: Our “beer expert” works for Hoppin’ Frog.)
4th Place (Tied!): Anderson Valley Brewing Company — Briney Melon Gose and Blood Orange Gose
Anderson Valley had two beers in the tasting and, coincidentally, they tied. Based on the comments, Briney Melon Gose was the favorite of the two, but lost out on a few points because “ABV [wasn’t] high enough.” Some folks are just tryin’ to get drunk, ya know?
2nd Place: DESTIHL Brewery — Here Gose Nothin’
This was the sourest of all the beers we tried. Seriously, this shit is sour. Our expert said it pushed the very edges of the sour guidelines for a gose. Still, it was well received enough to come in second place.
1st Place: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company — Otra Vez
Everyone agreed that Sierra Nevada killed it with this one. Well balanced, slightly salty and sour, with a very pleasant herbal character, Otra Vez won our tasting by a pretty wide margin. We all agreed we’d be drinking this beer all summer.
The exit poll consisted of just one question: Drunk yet? One respondent reported being drunk — Kenny, but I think he was drinking before he showed up — and one said they were sober. The rest were “other.” Ain’t that just the way.
If you want to pick up these beers for yourself, and you live in Akron, Ohio, I suggest checking out the Mustard Seed in Highland Square. That’s where I got most of these beers. The rest came from the Giant Eagle in Fairlawn, which has recently really stepped up their beer game. Skip Acme #1, though; they didn’t have a single gose.
Water Malt Hops Yeast is an exploration of beer, from the Reinheitsgebot to the truly strange. Each month, we’ll kick the keg of a different style of beer, delving into its origins, modern incarnations, and everything in between. Buying, tasting, brewing, pairing. You know — beer stuff.
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