There are certain things that just don’t seem as if they’d pair well with one another. Lamb and tuna fish, bananas and teriyaki sauce, bulls and china shops, and beer and salt. Salt wouldn’t be the first additive that would come to mind when making a batch of beer, however that’s precisely what makes a Gose, a Gose. Westbrook Brewing Company, out of the tooth chipped state of South Carolina, makes one of the best American Goses around. A style that’s gaining in popularity, I’m curious to see what all the fuss is about. Let’s get some sodium…
Appearance: Before we get into it, a big thank you to my buddy Mike for donating this brew to me – sharing is caring! OK, so looks… it pours a cloudy, bright, and orange like Sunny D. When I first poured, this beer had a big head, but it disappeared quickly and left no trace on the tulip I was drinking out of.
Smell: The smell really reminds me of many Berliner Weisses I’ve had. Minerally, soapy, rock candy, corn flakes, and lactic sourness.
Taste: The taste follows the nose, but the salt adds an extra explosion at the end hitting all parts of your mouth. The flavors are nearly identical to many Berliner Weisses with earthy minerality, sweet corn flakey grains, and blast of tartness. The salt in the brew isn’t detected in the taste until the very finish. As I was typing and describing the first sip, I was just about to say how the salt is non-existent, then… BAM! All over the palate I got it well after gulping the hazy brew down. The salt plays very well with the acidic, tart taste the brew naturally has and just accentuates those flavors to every nook in your mouth: cheeks, sides of the tongue, front of the tongue, mid palate… everywhere. The tartness of the brew quickly slides along the continuum to sourness by the time your drinking. The sour kick also gives way to a lot of fruit flavors including nectarine, lemon, kiwi, and orange.
The carbonation is this beer is alive and well and aids the dispersion of flavors across the mouth. Westbrook Gose has a nice drinkability to it given its sour taste (and what some would consider over-carbonation). This is in part because of the brew’s light body and low ABV; clocking in at 4%, this is strictly a flavor only beer.
Overall: I have to give Westbrook Gose an A-. I like the beer a lot and the sour flavors last a long time well after you swallow. I feel that Westbrook used the salt conservatively, which in my mind a good thing as other Goses I’ve tried would have been outlawed if the American Heart Association had any say in the matter. If you like a good Berliner Weisse and you’re a fan of potato chips, you’ll like this beer.