What’s a Gose?

As we continue our journey to identify every style of beer, I realized that I hadn’t yet covered one of the most controversial beers – the gose. Of course, every beer is controversial to someone, and the gose has led to some pretty serious accusations (even though it’s been around for, oh, 500 years or so).

Before we continue, two quick things:

It’s pronounced goes-uh, like “there he GOES” and “UH, what?” Just mash them together

I will try not to make too many gose puns along the way.

The Gose Beer: a History

If you’re just hearing about goses or heard about them in the past few years, it’s probably because they made a huge burst onto the craft scene a few years ago. Notable by their sour yet salty flavor, goses are a top-fermenting beer that relies heavily on malted wheat. ABVs range from the 4-5% range.

The name gose, by the way, comes from Goslar, a town in Germany where the beer originated in the 16th century. Most recipes use cilantro, and if the water used isn’t salty enough, salt is added. Any sour notes you get from this subtle beast comes from the lactobacillius bacteria, sometimes known as lacto.

Some of you might be thinking “I thought there were laws against such blasphemous beers in Germany.” There are! However, the gose has been recognized for its historical significance in the area, so it can be brewed despite it being “impure.”

It was a popular style for a while, but then fell out of popularity. As they say, it comes and gose.

Is Gose a Sour Beer?

Is a gose officially a type of sour beer? Well, what is a sour beer? I haven’t written an article about it yet, but knowing the beer industry I already know the answer.

Maybe a gose is a sour.

Technically a gose is sour, but is it a sour? I’ll go ahead and say yes, just because it is sour. However, we have ourselves a square-rectangle situation here where a gose might be a sour, but that doesn’t mean all sours are goses. A gose needs to have salt and coriander added, while other sours might get their sourness from fruits, yeasts, and other tasty beer things.

Where Does it Gose From Here?

Where does it gose from here? Anyone with their ears to the ground or their mouths to a gose knows that the gose made a huge comeback in 2015. You can still find this salty delight at your local brewery that brews goses, but it isn’t as popular anymore and you’re much more likely to find haze bois than goses.

So, if goses are waning, why bother writing about them? Because they’re tasty! Look, beer trends will ebb and flow, but that doesn’t mean that once a trend is over the beer is suddenly bad.

If you’ve never tried a gose (or haven’t had one in a while), make a point to do it next time you see one on the menu. For those that don’t like sours, this is a great introductory beer that is sure to perk up your taste buds.

Thomas Short
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