Inspired by the gose tradition and infused with cucumber flavors and a kiss of lemon-infused sea salt, the process here includes a Lactobacillus acidification followed by fermentation with a special yeast for low- or no-alcohol beers. In the end, it should wind up below 0.5 percent ABV—but those who drink it probably won’t know, unless they know.
A Little Backstory...
In October 2022, I had the honor of judging at the Asia Beer Championship in Singapore. Besides getting to meet and talk with a lot of brewers from various countries, it was a great chance to taste a wide range of beers from a region where independent brewing is probably growing faster today than anywhere else in the world.
There were plenty of great beers—including champions from Heart of Darkness in Vietnam and Gorilla of South Korea, among others—but the most memorable beer of the competition for me was a clean, quenching cucumber gose with a striking and resilient layer of foam on top.
The main reason the beer was so memorable, beside the fact that it was refreshing and tasted great, was that it was nonalcoholic—and it was holding its own against envelope-pushing barleywines and other creations in the Experimental Beer category.
That NA beer ended up winning bronze in the category, and that’s when I learned who brewed it. It wasn’t a commercial brewery, per se; it came from the BarthHaas Asia Campus in Beijing. On that campus—as at the BarthHaas campus in Nürnberg, Germany, and at the John I. Haas Innovations Center in Yakima, Washington—the global hop company has a state-of-the-art Kaspar Schultz brewing plant for testing and brewing beers meant to show off their hops and hop products for customers.
Being incredibly curious about how they made this beer, I asked for the recipe—and campus brewmaster Lei Zhang kindly provided it, so that we can now share it with you. —Joe Stange
Barth Haas China Not for Adults NA Cucumber Gose
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%