The folks down at Schell’s keep trotting out the new brews. I have to say, I was devastated to learn that Chimney Sweep, my new favorite, was not a year-round offering. Somehow I had got it in my head that it was. Maybe wishful thinking. In fact it’s a six-month beer that will alternate with Goosetown, a new Gose-ish summer beer.
Goosetown is part of a new trend in brewing to recreate extinct or nearly-extinct beer styles. One could say that the trend began in 1967 when Pierre Celis opened the Hoegaarden brewery to revive the Belgian witbier style that had sputzed out of existence ten years earlier. Today microbrewers are brewing modern interpretations of such long-lost beers as Gose, Mumme, Berliner Weisse, Grätzer, and Burton Ale.
Gose (pronounced GŌ-zuh) seems to fit into the family of “white beers” that once existed across Europe and Great Britain. It includes Hefeweizen, Berliner Weiss, and witbeir among other styles. Gose originated in the region near Leipzig, where water high in sodium lent the beer a saline profile. It’s a wheat based beer, often with coriander added. Lactic fermentation gives it a lemony tartness.
Goosetown isn’t exactly an authentic, traditionally brewed Gose. I don’t think the brewers at Schell’s would dispute that assertion. It is a tasty and refreshing summer ale, though. I actually tasted this long ago. I’ve been tied up in an all-consuming project in Chicago, however, and am just now getting around to posting my notes.
Here’s My notes:
August Schell Brewing Company, New Ulm, Minnesota
Serving Style: 12 oz. Bottle
Aroma: Wheaty. Bread and Saltines. Very light fruity notes – like a light lemony citrus. Aromatics are very subtle and mostly malt.
Appearance: The first sample was light golden and brilliantly clear, although later bottles have had a haze. Long-lasting fluffy white head. It really sticks around in a thick layer on surface.
Flavor: Bready wheat malt with smooth edges. Background salinity, but not enough to say it’s salty. It adds a mineral note and gives emphasizing contrast to the malt. Light sweetness. Bitterness is low and hop flavors are nearly non-existent. Only the lightest note of spice and something that reminds me of Indian lime-pickle. Maybe it’s the salt and noble hops bringing that to my mind. There is an afterthought of lemony acidity, but not nearly enough to say it’s sour. Maybe not even enough to notice outright unless you really pay attention. Like the coriander and orange in a witbier, it enhances without drawing attention to itself. Finishes with a parting shot of light bitterness and lingering bread and lemons.
Mouthfeel: Light body. Medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: Delicate yet flavorful. Exceptionally clean and balanced. Billed as a Gose. It’s Gose-ish, but I’d call it more of a slightly salty American wheat beer with a hint of acidity. But that’s okay. It’s a delightfully drinkable brew. It almost makes up for taking Chimney Sweep away for the summer. Almost, but not quite. I really want to try this with Indian lime pickle. The intensity of the pickle may overpower the beer, but something tells me it would be a good pairing.