Duck duck gose!

Wild Rose releases unique salted beer

Wild Rose Brewery’s last seasonal beer Natural Born Keller was an interesting amalgam of three beer styles. Their newest seasonal beer is a reproduction of just one. While that might sound boring compared to the triumvirate beer that was Natural Born Keller rest assured that this brewery would never do anything tame.

This single-style seasonal beer is Gose Rider Wild Rose’s interpretation of a very rare beer style. Gose (pronounced “Go-suh”) is a sour wheat beer made with salt. By some records Gose was first brewed over a thousand years ago in the town of Goslar in the Saxony region of what is now Germany. Goslar was in its heyday a mining town and the area surrounding the city was rich with minerals. This gave the river Gose which runs through the town a natural salinity. As a result beers brewed in Goslar were salty.

Through various wars both actual and “Cold” the city of Goslar suffered. It suffered much physical damage during the Second World War and much economic damage as part of the communist East Germany until German reunification in 1990. The breweries of Goslar closed and the brewing of Gose beer was left to breweries in nearby Leipzig which is now the city most associated with this style of beer.

Because of its long history Gose was given special exemption from the famous German beer purity law of 1516. That law which states that beer can only be brewed with water malt hops and yeast originated in Bavaria. When its application spread to all of Germany Gose which originated in Saxony was exempted as a regional specialty.

Gose is an ale so it must be made with at least 50 per cent malted barley and it’s spiced with coriander. In this sense Gose is similar to witbier (like Hoegaarden). But Gose is more complex because of its saltiness and because it should also be a little sour. Gose is also light effervescent and refreshing — the perfect beer for summer.

“We used 60 per cent wheat malt Pilsner malt and some acidulated malt to sour the beer” says Brian Smith director of brewery operations at Wild Rose. “It was spiced with coriander and sea salt and a Belgian wheat yeast was used to impart some esters and mild phenolics.”

Wheat contributes to a pour with large head — and this beer proves it. The head is white and its foam stand is good. As the head falls it leaves tufts clinging to the side of the glass.

The beer itself is straw in colour and hazy. Again this is perfect for a beer of this style. The nose is light in strength yet has significant coriander and yeast aromas. The flavour is light-bodied and the alcohol content is low at four per cent. It is quite dry with a light graininess and some wheat spiciness. This spiciness is accompanied by some yeast spiciness and a nice coriander flavour.

The flavour of salt emerges lightly in the finish but the salt is also present in the texture causing a little tingle on the lips and tongue. Hopping is appropriately light.

The name “Gose Rider” is a pun on the Marvel comic character Ghost Rider. The beer’s label has the character riding a goose (another pun) over the Old Town Hall of Leipzig.

Do not miss this beer. Unless you visit Leipzig you may never get a chance to try a beer like this again.