Now is the time for all good Wisconsin beer drinkers to consume brews leftover from the warmer months in preparation for what the Farmer's Almanac is predicting to be a really goddamn cold winter. And so to make room for stouter fair in my refrigerator, I have begun to drink the lighter fare therein.
First up is Anderson Valley's The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose Ale
. I have no idea what the name is supposed to mean. I suppose that it's an in-joke for the brewmaster or some goofy northern California punage. Regardless of the name, I was keen on trying a domestic take on the German brew.
The gose (go-suh) dates back to the 16th century and gets its name from its hometown – Goslar. The brew spread and folks in Leipzig really took a shine to it and breweries there began to brew it. Eventually the beer became associated with Leipzig. Gose went on the decline around World War I presumably because, well, there was a war on plus the Reinheitsgebot had escaped Bavaria only to spread northward and lagers were the hip and cool (pun intended) beer trend. World War II seems to have killed it but the style was resurrected every now and again during the bad old days of the Cold War. Today I believe there are two or three breweries in Germany that brew Gose with the most common one to my eyes on this side of the Atlantic being Leipziger Gose
Provenance aside, the style is that of a sour wheat beer. 50%+ of the grain bill is wheat with the rest being barley. It is spiced with coriander, salt, and hops while lactic bacteria provide the sourness. Until this brew, I had never had a brew by Anderson Valley and was really looking forward to it.
The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose Ale pours a nice foamy head despite what my photograph shows. By the time I took a picture that was lit well enough and in focus, the head had dissipated. The bier itself is clear and of a very light straw color. There were a few stray bubbles making their way up. A lemony tartness dominated the aroma.
On the tongue The Kimmie... has a light body and you get the effervescence. You may not see the bubbles in your glass but you can taste them. As with the aroma, the lactic tartness stands out along with its attendant lemony/citrus flavor. Further along the tongue you catch a bit of grain along with a stone fruit flavor. There was just the barest hint of salinity. The hops only seem discernible in the finish which is tart, slightly bitter, and dry. It was disappointing to me that the salt was barely noticeable but even worse was that I could not taste any coriander. None. Zip. Keiner. Anderson Valley's webpage says it's in there but you could have fooled me. Perhaps their brewmaster is into homeopathy and really diluted it while counting on the wort to have a memory of the coriander.
As I drank I found that the bier yielded no Schaumhaftvermoegen
. The sides of my glass were clean. But I did feel refreshed. Despite the near absence of hops, salt, and coriander, this beer goes down easily with its rather light body, lemony flavor, and dry finish. Anderson Valley reports that it is 4.2% A.B.V. which is sessionable and quite appropriate for hotter weather.
Junk Food Pairing: I would definitely pair this beer with Chinese shrimp chips – the ones that look like Shrinky Dinks before you fry them up.
Folks here in Madison should try Egon's Revenge from Next Door Brewing
, although you'll probably have to wait until next summer to do so. It is a wonderful beer and probably more in line with the gose style as it has traditionally been made with a fuller body than The Kimmie... Best of all, the salt and coriander are not hidden, though not overwhelming either. It's a bit stronger at 4.6% but within the range for the style. Personally, I think it's one of the best beers you can find in Madison.
Labels: Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Beer, Gose