10 Feb 2009

Acquired taste

A couple of months ago we had the great pleasure of being visited by our fellow beer bloggers Boak & Bailey, and together with Velký Al and Evan Rail we went for a few pints to Pivovarský Klub, then U Slovanské Lipy and we finished the evening at Zlý Časy. Our British friends didn't come empty handed, they brought me and Velký Al a bottle of Gose, which they had bought while in Liepzig (they brought Evan a Espresso Stout from England)

Gose is one of those styles that I really wanted to taste, even though I really wasn't sure whether I would like it or not. But just knowing a bit of its history and, above all, the ingredients, would awake the curiosty of any serious beer geek. When Germany reunited the Reinheistgebot fundamentalist wanted to eliminate the style, something to be expected, after all, Gose beers are brewed nowadays with barley and wheat malts, hops, yeasts, salt and coriander, far from your usual brew.

The Gose in question is Ritterguts (if my understanding of Gothic typeface is right). I have abosolutely no clue about how well it is considered, but I assume Boak & Bailey didn't pick something they found at Lidl.
It pours very pale gold, it looks almost like a watered down weissbier. The head is scarce and short lasting. The bouquet is of bananas, spices and salt, something I had never felt in a beer, and, regardless of the ingredient list, I wasn't expecting to feel here. In the mouth it starts with not fully ripe bananas that slowly turn more lemony, to become something that I would say tastes like weizenbier with lime juice. The finish is short, very sour and a bit salty, but it gains in intensity  and length as the glass gets emptier. The aftertaste it leaves, and what I could taste from my mustache, was something like seawater. I didn't find it easy to drink. In fact, I had to take a break halfway down because it was overwhelming me. So I started to grate cheese for a sauce for dinner. I was working on a gouda (a cheap one) when I fancied eating a little piece to try to clean that aftertaste, which didn't want to leave me. It did a good job, and I thought I would have a sip of the Gose to see how it would pair with the cheese. Wonderful! The gouda, which was mild and a bit sour, worked like a strict teacher in an unruly and messy class. Tamed the wilder aspects of the beer, without totally quieting them. By the time I finished the glass, I almost wanted to have another one.

Though I hope someday to be able to drink Gose again, I don't believe I can become a fan of the style. Anyway, I am really happy I was able to taste it. Thanks a lot to Boak & Bailey for letting me have this experience.

Na Zdravi!

Choose your preferred Prague hotels and get free transport.

5 comments:

  1. You're very welcome!

    Any other cheese and beer pairing suggestions, by the way? This is a current obsession of ours...

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  2. This one was really casual... I don't do pairings with beers I'm tasting for the first time, but I had to make an excepction with this one....:)

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  3. I've been looking forward to getting my hands on some Gose for a while now, but I never seem to be able to make it to Leipzig, even though we have a sister office there. It sounds interesting from your notes!

    You make it sound like the Bavarians targetted Gose, whereas it was more a blanket withering of all the interesting variations outside Bavaria, including Keut that was made in the town I now live in. Sad protectionism :( I'm grateful to Ron for his history of German beer styles which is helping me enlighten some of my German colleagues :)

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  4. Yeah, I wasn't enterily fair with the Reinheistgebotist. They didn't discriminate, anything that didn't fit into their idea of purity was targetted, sometimes with success, I'm afraid. Good that at least Gose was able to resist.
    (Call me a paranoid if you will, but I do get a very "funny" feeling whenever I see the concept of "purity" associated with Germany)

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  5. I just keep blaming the Bavarians :D (and maybe the Austrians, for different reasons)

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