On a recent trip to Chicagoland The Dulcinea and I stopped in at a liquor store on our way out into the exurbs. My intention was to grab a six pack or two of brews unavailable here in Madison, especially Hoss
which, sadly, has been demoted from year-round to seasonal. While I saw no Hoss, I did end up bringing home quite a bit more beer than I had planned.
One of those brews was Sweetie Pie
, a strawberry rhubarb gose from Scorched Earth Brewing. While I'd heard of and a bit about Scorched Earth, this was the first time I can recall encountering their beers. I think that at least part of the reason is that they don't distribute widely in the city. Chicagoland is very large, after all. They are out in Algonquin, which is a northwest suburb/exurb.
This was my second strawberry rhubarb beer with the first being New Glarus' Strawberry Rhubarb
. While the brew from Little Switzerland is a wild ale, Scorched Earth's is a kettle soured gose. The same fruits being taken in similar yet different directions. Sweetie Pie, being a gose, has had salt added. In this case it is pink Himalayan sea salt. Beyond the normal NaCl qualities, I do not know what the blushing mineral has going for it.
Sweetie Pie is bright yellow. It was also quite hazy which surely is the because of the wheat in the bier. Goses are traditionally made of 50%+ wheat although I don't know the percentage here. The ¾" head on my glass was soda-like with bubbles jostling for attention when they weren't popping rather loudly. There was also a fair number of bubbles below the surface. Overall quite pretty, though I'd have like the head to have stuck around a bit longer.
The aroma was pleasantly fruity. First there was the sharp, lemony smell of the lactic acid which was followed by sweet, aromatic strawberry. The citrus was fairly strong while the strawberry was just a RCH less pungent.
On my first sip my tongue felt like German Sixth Army in 1942 as it was routed by a blast of lactic tartness. Contrary to the aroma, it didn't taste particularly lemony. The sour lessened on subsequent sips and my tongue recovered to taste that the rhubarb adds its own tartness which was not as sharp as the lactic variety. The strawberry was fairly sweet but not overwhelming and made for a tasty contrast. The wheat stood out and was joined by some more of a barleyed grain flavor. Just as the label boasts, the grains bear more than a passing resemblance to the crust of a pie. The lactic acid and carbonation combined to give the bier a nice bite and and overall acidulous taste. I couldn't really taste the salt as a distinct flavor but it added a fullness to the flavor and likely helped the wheat stand out.
The tartness lingered on the finish along with some of that wheat flavor. The latter I think was helped out again by the salt which became more apparent. Ixnay on the Schaumhaftvermoegen
This is a very fine bier. After the initial salvo of sour, it mellowed a bit and found the perfect middle ground. (I only wish there was more of a citrus flavor to the sour.) While the strawberry was only able to temper the tartness a small amount, it's a testament to the brewers at Scorched Earth that it still stood out in its own right instead of bowing completely to the sourness. The whole sweet and sour dichotomy, the Jungian thing, if you will, was darn near perfect here. And they put just the right amount of salt in. It enhanced the flavor overall and left just a hint of salinity at the end for a unique finish.
It's like having the month of June in a glass.
Junk food pairing: I like to really savor the fruit and veg in this bier and so avoid big, bold flavors in accompanying food. Try some plain old potato chips. If you must have added flavoring, keep it mellow with something like sour cream and cheddar.
Labels: Beer, Gose, Scorched Earth Brewing