Pint of Gose great with guacamole and tortilla

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Jordan St. John, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

With some styles of beer there are examples that you can point to as definitive. For Pilsner, it might as well be Pilsner Urquell (which literally translates to Original Pilsner). For American pale ale, most people would point to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from Chico, California.

Because craft brewing is all about reimagining and rediscovering facets of brewing, we sometimes end up with rejuvenated styles. In the case of Gose, a reclaimed German style that teetered on the brink of extinction in the 1970’s, there isn’t really a defining version. The German brewery that reintroduced it tinkered with their recipe by quizzing people who had tried the penultimate version in the 1960’s.

For that reason, Gose is more or less a blank slate with some loosely agreed upon characteristics. For one thing, the grain mix that makes up the beer should be about 50% wheat. For another, Gose is slightly sour due to the use of both ale yeast and lactobacillus in fermentation. Finally, Gose is typically flavoured with salt and coriander seeds, providing a dimension of flavour that doesn’t really exist elsewhere in the beer world. You can see how the number of variables would be a red cape to an imaginative brewer.

Right in the middle of the spectrum is Toronto’s Liberty Village Brewing Co. with their brand new Gosebuster. Gosebuster is probably among the most accessible versions of the style, hitting all of the notes but never really leaning into any of them. Salt and tart living together, but no mass hysteria. At 5.1% alcohol, it’s about as safe as you can play the style.

Quebec’s Les Trois Mousquetaires’ version is a lightweight 3.8% alcohol, but manages to pack a great deal of flavour into that small frame. It sweeps you along through citrus and light, crackery malt before the salt and sourness hit at approximately the same time. If anything, this version highlights the salt, practically leaving a film of rime on your lips when enjoyed cold.

Driftwood brewing from Victoria, B.C., goes the other way with it. Their Gose-uh (a handy name that prevents you from mispronouncing the style) is fermented predominantly with lactobacillus and only finished with ale yeast, making it a seriously tart, dry affair.

Because of the salt content and tart character, Gose is a great choice for late summer refreshment. You might consider having it with guacamole and tortillas rather than heavier German fare. The tartness in the beer will nicely complement the lime juice in the guacamole, and the coriander seed will add an extra dimension. Similarly, if you use a small amount of raw garlic or red onion in your guacamole, the salt will enhance that bite ever so slightly.

Jordan St.John writes about beer at saintjohnswort.ca; he hates it when people call guacamole, “guac.”


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