Fearful Symmetries

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31 July, 2015

MIA - NaCl and Coriandrum sativum: Egon's Revenge from Next Door Brewing



I emailed Next Door Brewing a few months ago asking if they were going to brew Egon's Revenge again this year. Head Brewer Bryan Kreiter replied that he was intent on doing so and that he may switch from the use of acidulated malt to create the tartness to actually culturing some bacteria from raw grain for the job. This was good news indeed as I thoroughly enjoyed last year's batch. It was a bit heavier than I'd expect from a gose – an imperial gose, perhaps? – but it was refreshing and had goodly amounts of salt and coriander. A very tasty brew.

The gose seems to be gaining in popularity these days. Leipziger Gose is available at Riley's these days in small bottles. (I'm not sure if they are .331 liter or 12 ounces.) And U.S. craft brewers are brewing it more often. Dexter's had some Widmer Brothers Marionberry Hibiscus Gose a few years back which was exceptionally tasty and I've seen cans of gose by Destihl and Anderson Valley on Madison shelves lately. Sure, the IPA is not fearful of the competition but the gose is much more prominent now than it was just a few years ago.

When I finally saw that Egon's Revenge was again on tap I made my way to Next Door with all due haste and purchased a growler. How did this year's batch compare to last year's?

This year's Egon's Revenge pours a dark blond. (It's a beauty, eh.) Because of the wheat the beer is hazy. I believe that gose is traditionally unfiltered as well. My pour produced a lovely big, pillowy white head which lasted quite a while. There was a fair amount of effervescence with a goodly number of bubbles heading upwards.

As expected, a lemony tartness was the first thing that caught my nose. This was joined by a bit of grain or biscuit aroma and just the faintest hint of some kind of spiciness which I took to be coriander since it didn't resemble a Noble hop. It didn't have that grassy-herbal component. Also unsurprising was that the tartness was the first thing that jumped out at my tongue. No lemon taste, though, like one would get with lactic bacteria in, say, a Berliner Weisse. I thought that this year's batch was more tart than last year's which I appreciated. ER has a nice smooth medium-light body which means that I was able to catch plenty of grainy notes plus some sweeter notes akin to corn (not creamed corn). There may have been a hint of salinity in there but I suspect it might have been wishful thinking. Last year's batch was so wonderful because, unlike the ER from 2013, I could taste the salt and coriander. I struggled but could taste no coriander and I'll say there was a 50/50 chance of a patina of salt. What a disappointment.

Egon's Revenge finished smoothly with a bit of dryness from a smidge of herbal hoppiness. I believe it has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 I.B.U.s.

What a let down. I was looking forward to some saline-coriander goodness but struggled and failed to taste it***. (See comments below.) Even as the beer warmed I couldn’t taste it. Tis a shame. Still, ER clocks in at 4.6% A.B.V. is rather light, and has some fine tartness. Ergo it really is quite refreshing. Disappointing but refreshing. Like a Berliner Weisse, it's not uncommon to drink it mit Schuss (with syrup) in Germany. While there will be no tear in my beer, there will probably be some Waldmeister in there.

Junk food pairing: Quaff your stange of Egon's Revenge with a bowl of chiwda which is Indian snack mix. This will likely have the missing coriander and salt and be very tasty to boot.

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|| Palmer, 8:23 PM

5 Comments:

Better practice your tasting. The Egon's has 20% MORE salt than last year. Also, if you can't taste the coriander, there is no hope for you as a beer taster/writer.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 AM  
I will and did. I drank more Egon's last night. No salinity stands out for me nor does any coriander. I just don't taste either like I did in last year's batch. I will tray again tonight.
Blogger Palmer, at 10:12 AM  
***Upon further review...I poured 2 glasses of Egon's Revenge this evening and finished off the growler. My significant other said she could taste the coriander and that it was "medium". I could taste it a little bit. Nowhere near as prominent as last year. And I was still unable to detect much salinity. It still tasted primarily sour and wheaty to me.

Is there a problem with my tongue? Possibly.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:48 PM  
Your tongue is fine, everyone experiences flavors differently. That's the great thing about craft beer! I suspect if the salt were removed from the equation, it would become very evident. If you try the classic Gose's, the salinity in those is subtle as well. Not intended to be distinctly "salty".
To my pallet, the coriander is predominantly in the nose. You're definitely correct by saying there is less coriander than in 2014. The difference is cracked coriander vs whole seed. Increased extraction with cracked seed..... I prefer the coriander to play in the background rather than taking front stage though! Cheers, hope you like it next year!
Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 AM  
Hi again - I was serious about my tongue. I quit smoking about a month ago and with me simply getting older, well, I wouldn't be surprised if my tongue is, as Ozzy sang, going through changes.

Yeah, I've had the Leipziger Gose - the review is somewhere on the blog. It was subtle, I agree. I think I get what you're saying here. If the salt were removed the flavors would be "less enhanced", I guess you could say. I can see that. But I just didn't taste anything which would stand out as being salty or enhanced by salt.

My SO also said that the coriander was more prominent on the nose. I suppose I could have made it clearer in the post - this year's batch simply didn't hit me like last year's. The flavors in 2014 that I tasted as prominent were not so this year. This year's batch is more sour to my taste and I'm sure that interferes with my ability to taste salt and coriander.

I look forward to tasting (What's so funny 'bout) Peach Lavenderstanding and bitching about not being able to taste the lavender. ;)
Blogger Palmer, at 10:51 AM  

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