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Flavor Fever: The Tightrope of Gose

A nearly forgotten style became a popular plaything in American brewing. Balance, as usual, is the trick—and how to pull it off depends on what you put in it.

Randy Mosher Apr 20, 2020 - 11 min read

Flavor Fever: The Tightrope of Gose Primary Image

Style: Gose
Topline/Concept: North German wheat/white ale with coriander and a pinch of salt.
ABV: In the market, generally between 4.7 and 5.7 percent.
Color/Clarity: Pale straw, slight to moderate haze. Fruited versions reflect fruit color.
Hops/Bittering: Minimal
Yeast: Top-fermenting, but not particularly yeast-driven.

Despite the slow, orderly evolution and subtle trends beer styles often follow, there are many cases where something new—or obscure or even dead—will suddenly catch fire and fit the moment perfectly. This is the case for gose, which disappeared in the 1960s from its home in central Germany after a couple of centuries or more. I’ve been writing about this fascinating style since the 1990s; for a while, gose got only sporadic love from craft breweries, mostly as an exercise in curiosity. At some point about 10 years ago, this reclusive style bounded onto the American craft scene, ready to rock.

There were classic versions, but the real madness was for fruited ones: raspberry, watermelon, cucumber, citrus, and many others. Some breweries had trouble keeping up. My friend Fal Allen, brewmaster at Anderson Valley (Boonville, California), long famous for classic hoppy West Coast styles, recently described their brewery as “a gose factory.” A commercial brewery ignores a market opportunity at its peril, so many hopped aboard the trend.

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