Fearful Symmetries

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01 July, 2017

Beltane's Flower: Hibiscus Gose by Boulevard Brewing Company



Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company began distributing to Wisconsin back in the spring. I must admit that when I first heard the news, I wasn't excited. But this wasn't due to Boulevard, whose beers I was not familiar with; rather it was because of Pavlovian conditioning. I mean, it seems that the other breweries who have begun distributing here all brought an arsenal of eyepahs. (I'm thinking particularly of Golden Road.) Strolling down the beer aisle at Woodman's I'd see stacks of eyepahs by breweries new to the state – session, double, juicy, New England – the whole lot. And so when I heard about Boulevard's immanent arrival I couldn't help but think "Do these people not realize we already have dozens of native eyepahs that are just as bitter/juicy/fruity/cloudy as something imported from distant lands?"

Then I did a little reading and discovered that Boulevard brews a hibiscus gose and a little excitement began to well within. Suddenly I recalled having had a hibiscus goes Dexter's one time but soon realized that it was Marionberry Hibiscus Gose by Widmer Brothers.

Hibiscus is, perhaps not exactly trendy, but certainly much more common than when I first had a beer infused with the flower. This was back in 2009 or thereabouts which means I was oddly on the bleeding edge of beer trends for what is likely the first and only time. This was at the home of Joe Walts (he of Ale Asylum fame) when he introduced me to a hibiscus saison that he had created with Robyn Klinge (she of Madison Craft Beer Week fame). It was an extremely tasty brew and, though Joe never opened his brewpub, the recipe found a home at Vintage Brewing when Robyn was their beer ambassador (or whatever her title was.)

While I expected Boulevard's Hibiscus Gose to be pink it was more orange – almost amber. Not sure how to explain that. Also curious was the fact that the bier was clear. Being a wheat brew it's normally a touch hazy but I suppose filtering highlights the color. I got a medium-sized white head which stuck around for a little while. Inside there was a modicum of bubbles.

The aroma had that lovely floral scent of the hibiscus as well as some citrus from the lactobacillus.

My tongue was greeted with a fairly big dose of sour that was moderately lemony. Then the hibiscus kicked in with a firm bit of the floral. The flowers also lent a tangy bitterness. I'd swear I caught just a hint of coriander, an ingredient I wish was generally more prominent in goses. Similarly, there was a tad of cracker underneath. The lacto and carbonation gave the beer a pleasantly acidic patina.

The finish was wonderful with a hint of the hibiscus accompanied by a lingering tartness from the flower. It was here that the salinity became noticeable and it helped bring the coriander out of the botanic malaise and to the fore. Sadly there was no Schaumhaftvermoegen to be had.

Delicious! I appreciated that the bier didn't have a lethal sourness. The lacto and hibiscus kept things nice and tart, though. Aside from adding some tartness, the hibiscus adds a tasty floral accent to the gose. I know some folks who are turned off by flowers in their food and drink. Unlike say, rose hips, hibiscus, at least in the beers I've had, has a taste that is brighter and less richly aromatic. The sour along with a light body and low alcohol – 4.2% - made it extremely refreshing on a hot day. This is a great bier and it was quite fortuitous that Boulevard began distributing here when they did as Hibiscus Gose is a spring seasonal. I look forward to next year's batch already.

Junk food pairing: Pair Hibiscus Gose with something that tastes of warmer climes such as lime flavored tortilla chips or guacamole Takis.

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|| Palmer, 6:29 AM

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