Fearful Symmetries

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20 November, 2015

A Gose to Drive Scurvy and the Winter Blues Away: Blood Orange Gose by Anderson Valley Brewing Company



Here we are waiting on half a foot of snow to fall and I'm going to write about a gose. Stranger things have happened at sea, I guess.

The gose is an old German style. It is a top-fermented sour wheat bier that is flavored with salt and coriander in addition to hops. Gose originated in the town of Goslar and soon spread to Leipzig where it gained immense popularity. It's one of many northern German beers that fared poorly in the face of the 19th century lager trend and the application of the (in)famous Reinheitsgebot laws to breweries outside of Bavaria in the early 20th century. The style died a slow death in its homeland and was finally pushed into extinction in the aftermath of World War II. Since then it has been resurrected by a few breweries in Germany. However, gose is making a much greater comeback here in the United States where sour beers are en vogue and American microbrewers are happy to oblige.

Some American brewers stay true to tradition while others tweak it by adding flavors beyond salt, coriander, and hops. One example of the latter that comes to mind is the Marionberry Hibiscus Gose by Widmer Brothers that Dexter's had on tap a couple years ago. Another is the bier at hand: Anderson Valley's Blood Orange Gose.

My photo isn't too bad this time. Putting white paper behind the glass really helps with getting the true color of the beer across which, in this case, is a light gold. It was slightly hazy which is understandable given the wheat in the grain bill. My stange was graced with a nice frothy white head which was in no hurry to dissipate. There were a few bubbles going up the glass.

The aroma was rather simple to my nose but it was a citrusy extravaganza of the titular blood orange and that lemony scent of the lactobacillus bacteria which gives the bier its sour taste as well. And it was the lactobacillus which I tasted first upon taking a sip. My tongue got a decent dose of that piquant lemon tartness. The blood orange, which was so prominent on the nose came through in a more moderate way on the back end of my sip. I could also taste the wheat with some breadiness coming through but it was in the background as was a modicum of carbonation.

At the finish that lemony lacto tartness lingered and there was also a little bite from the carbonation. Sadly, no Schaumhaftvermoegen was left on my stange.

For reasons only known to Anderson Valley, they make Blood Orange Gose available in October through April. Why they would foist a wonderfully light-bodied and fairly low alcohol (4.2% A.B.V.) brew on us in the colder months is beyond me. I guess you'll want to buy some in the spring and hold onto it for the summer months because this is a great beer. And I say this despite not being able to taste any salinity nor coriander. Perhaps these flavors would have been more apparent if the bier had been warmer. As it was, I thoroughly enjoyed the blood orange-lemon combo. While tart, it was moderately so. This is not like a Destihl wild sour which should come with a warning label saying consumption could damage your tongue.

I was not impressed with Anderson Valley's regular gose, The Kimmie, The Yink, and the Holy Gose Ale but the addition of citrus really helps. This is simply a great, refreshing bier.

Junk food pairing: This is a light-bodied brew with flavors that are not overly intense so pairing something counter risks overwhelming it. Instead find something complementary like lime chili tortilla chips.

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|| Palmer, 8:37 PM

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