Gose – American: Westbrook Gose

This week, a beer that nearly went extinct. Tracing it’s roots back to Germany, we have Westbrook Gose. A salty beer with Coriander seeds added, designed to drink during the summer. We’ve never had a Gose on here before, so I thought it would be rude not to! (Gose is apparently pronounced Gose-uh, the more you know!) It’s currently seen a revival with American Breweries producing it and German breweries and pubs producing and selling it again.

Let’s start with Westbrook’s description of the brew:

This is our interpretation of Gose (pronounced “Gose-uh”), a traditional German-style sour wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. Once nearly extinct, this very refreshing style is making a comeback.

I like this description, it’s to the point, has a little bit of information about the style and lets you take it from there. I like how this beer is making a comeback, because to be honest there’s nothing quite like it. Sure, you have Berliner Weiss that is similar but, this one is salty and slightly citrusy and I’ve introduced it to people that wouldn’t usually be into beer. The type of people that put half the pot of salt on their chips and citrus freaks. Usually they’ve absolutely loved it.

Let’s get on to the recipe, the malts are 2-Row, Sauermalz and Malted Wheat. This is inoculated with Lactobacillus and left for three days. After this, the small amount of CTZ hops are added along with Sea Salt and Coriander during the boil and Fermentation. It seems like a simple recipe, but it’s not! The Sour Mash method is notoriously difficult. It’s definitely an interesting one to try, though.

When you pour this beer, it’s a pale straw colour with a big, fizzy white head. Eventually this dissipates and leaves no lacing and no trace of the head. It looks a bit like Apple Fanta but paler. On the nose there’s Tart Citrus, a touch of Coriander and Wheat. On the palate, it’s so complex for a sour, first is the extremely Tart Citrus, then it moves on to a Salty Flavour with a Wheat Backbone but after this, surprisingly it goes sweet with flavours reminiscent of Apple Cider. What a great brew! It’s Medium to Thin Bodied, but by no means watery. It finishes Sweet and Sour, which is very refreshing and perfect for Hot and Humid weather.

You can purchase Westbrook Gose from Brewdog’s Online Shop at the moment! Their lines are always changing, so grab one whilst you can!

EST. CALORIES: 120   ABV: 4%

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Sour – English: Siren Craft Brew Cucumber Calypso

This week’s beer is the Special Cucumber Calypso by Siren Craft Brew. This was a limited beer, but it’s so tasty that it definitely deserves a mention! Cucumber had been added to the beer, and being such a fan of Gherkins (Pickles) it was one I most definitely had to try!

It seems that there’s no description for this one, either as it was a limited release, so lets crack on to the recipe! I think this particular iteration of the brew has Pale Wheat, 2-Row and Vienna Malts in. As for the Hops, they aren’t very detectable, but there is a Citrus undertone so I’d probably go for Centennial or Cascade. After this, because so much Cucumber flavour comes through I’d probably say it’s Dry-Cucumbered during fermentation (that sounds rude). Dry-Cucumbering (had to do it again) is the same as Dry-Hopping, but Cucumbers are used. So during Secondary Fermentation, the Cucumbers are added to the beer.

When your pour this beer, it’s a Cloudy Orange with a Thin to Medium white head. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of dotty lacing. Some Yeast clings to the side of the glass as you drink, which is a nice touch reminding you that you’re drinking a Berliner Weiss. On the nose, massive Cucumber aromas, some Brettanomyces and a nice Wheat note on the tail end. I absolutely love Cucumber, so the first time I picked this up just by smelling it I wanted to drink it straight away! On the palate, again big Cucumber notes, Wheat, Sour Funky yeast and some Citrus undertones. The Wheat and Malt backbone of this beer really carries through and allows the Cucumber to come through which is a great touch! It’s medium-bodied, with quite high carbonation. It finishes tart and dry. The regular Calypso is refreshing, but this one takes it to a new level with Cucumber added. Let’s hope Siren brew it again soon!

As this was a limited release, unfortunately it’s all sold out – but you can get the regular Calypso here and I really recommend it!

EST. CALORIES: 120   ABV: 4%

Barrel Aged Sour Brown Ale – American: Russian River Supplication

The beer for this slightly later posted article this Wednesday is quite special. Supplication by Russian River. I’ve always heard that Sours from Russian River are always Saught after, and Moe from Craft Beer Kings/Plaza Market in El Monte, California was kind enough to hook me up with some Supplication!

Let’ start with Russian River’s description of the brew:

Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.

Already this sounds like a very interesting beer, I like the brief description of the flavour. A beer like this should never have a detailed description of how it should taste. I’m liking how local barrels are used from the prolific California Wine scene and as soon as I saw this I was interested. I’m a huge fan of Red Wine and Cherries, and wondered how it would work in a Sour.

The recipe for this one was semi-easy to find out. I had the honour of talking to Vinnie Cilurzo (The Head Brewer and Owner) when I asked him what temperature to drink this one at. After telling me, we were conversing about the recipe for a little while which I really appreciated. The Malts in this one are 2-Row, Vienna, Crystal 40L and Carafa III Malts. I think there’s possibly a little bit of Wheat because the head on this one is crazy, more on that soon! As for the Hops, this is a Sour Brown Ale so they aren’t that prominent. I think Saaz and Hallertau are used. This is then aged in Oak Pinot Noir barrels and Sour Cherries are added to it with Brettanomyces Yeast for 12 Months. After this, it’s re-fermented in the bottle with Belgian Yeast.

This beer pours an Amber/Ruby colour with impressive carbonation and big head! The head doesn’t really recede as you drink, until you’ve nearly finished the bottle and leaves foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. It has one of the best head retentions I’ve seen in a while. On the nose there’s Tart Cherry, a touch of Wine notes, Oaky Tannins with some Belgian style funky notes and a touch of Bretty sourness. When you taste this beer, it truely is complex, up front there’s Pinot Noir and Tart Cherry notes with a big, bready and Oaky backbone. You really can taste the Oak Barrels in this beer in the backbone, which was a huge surprise. There’s also some sweeter Cherry notes in the background, some Belgian funk and a little bit of Nutty undertone towards the finish creating a salty feel. The beer is very well bodied for a Sour and very well carbonated. It finishes dry.

If you can get your hands on this, trading, going to California or asking a friend there to get you one I really recommend it! I’ve posted this article today as Russian River have just released a new batch of Supplication! If you’re visiting in the very near future or you have friends there, I definitely recommend getting a bottle of this.

EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%

Blended Saison/Sour – English: Wild Beer Co. Zintuki

This week’s beer is Zintuki from the Wild Beer Co. in Somerset, England. It’s a blend of a beer I’ll be writing about later this year (Ninkasi) and a beer from their core range – Somerset Wild. I was really interested in this beer, as I’ve always liked blends from other Brewers and think that they need to be more widely recognised. A good example is in the Wine world, where a blend can make two Wines taste even more incredible.

Let’s start with Wild Beer Co‘s description of the brew:

“More lessons in the art of blending from Wild Beer Co. This project sees the combination of Ninkasi and Somerset Wild creating a beer that is sour, hoppy, and acidic with an immaculate effervescence and super dry finish.”

A short but sweet description for Online, however it goes into way more detail on the back. There’s not a lot to say about this shorter description really, apart from that it’s straight to the point. It’s a blend, it’s sour, it’s hoppy and it’s pretty fizzy with a dry finish – more on that later.

As for the recipe with this one, with Wild Beer Co. Beers it’s very difficult as they’re always a little bit “out there” This one’s a blend of two of their beers. Somerset Wild, which I’m quite sure uses Sorachi Ace and Mosaic hops, White Wheat and Pilsner Malt. Ninkasi, on the other hand is little more complicated, they use Local Somerset Apple Juice, Wild Yeast and Hops from New Zealand to make this one, judging by the flavour I think these are Riwaka, Nelson Sauvin and possibly Southern Cross. After this, it undergoes a secondary fermentation with Champagne Yeast meaning it’s very bubbly indeed. After these beers are fermented, they are blended and some Lactobacillus is added. It’s always hard to decipher Wild Beer’s brews, which is always a good challenge for me.

When you pour this beer, it pours a cloudy and straw yellow with a medium white Head. The Head retention on this one is really good, probably because both the blended beers have Wheat in and the Champagne yeast keeping the carbonation going. It fades to a thin head and eventually a cap on top of the brew but it doesn’t disappear all together. On the nose there’s Apple, Lime, Wheat and some Belgian Funk. On the Palate there’s a nice Bready, Wheat backbone that carries throughout tasting, on top of this there’s Sour Apple, Lemon, Lime, some Floral Notes and some nice Belgian Funk. I was expecting this one to be a lot more sour, but it’s mild on terms of Tartness and it’s a very complex brew. It’s very full bodied for a sour beer with high Carbonation. It finishes Medium Dry.

This one’s definitely a refresher for the nice weather, and I recommend it.

You can buy Zintuki at:

Beer Gonzo

Beer Ritz

Both places are IN STOCK at the time of writing!

EST. CALORIES: 219   ABV: 7.3%

Sour – English: The Kernel London Sour

This week’s beer is from The Kernel Brewery in London, one of London’s up and coming breweries. I’ve been meaning to review a beer from The Kernel in a long time, as whenever I turn up with a bottle people always comment on how good the branding is. The Beer’s good too, so I thought I’d turn my attention onto whats in the bottle.

The Commercial Description is as follows:

The Kernel Brewery, London. London Sour. Keg and Bottle.

I don’t think there’s anything really to write about that, I like it though. It sort of says “Hi, We’re the Kernel, we’re from London and this Beers gonna be Sour” and that’s it. The rest is up to you. Maybe one day they’ll add a short description, maybe they won’t. It doesn’t really matter and people love Kernel beers it seems!

So, after that brief Analysis let’s get on to the recipe for this one! It’s been hard to figure out what’s in this one but I’ve given it a good go! I think the Malt base is a Sour mash of Wheat and Pilsner malt which is left the Sour for that Lactobaccillus and other Wild Yeasts and Bacteria to do it’s magic. After this, it’s added to a bill of Wheat, Pilsner and a touch of CaraHell malts. As for the Hops, judging by the flavour of this one I think Citra and Sorachi Ace have been used. It is fermented with a Clean Yeast after, although it is already infected with Lactobaccillus, a yeast notorious for stripping nearly all the Sugars out of Wort and creating a very Sour, Tart tasting brew.

When you pour this beer, it’s Yellow like a cheap Lager with a very fizzy white head which dissipates very quickly leaving no trace of a head being there. Bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass at a fast rate, almost causing a Champagne effect. On the nose there’s a hit of Wheat and Sour Notes followed by Lemon, Gooseberry and a touch of Passion Fruit too. It’s not as tart on the Palate as expected for a Sour, but there’s definitely some tart Gooseberry and Passionfruit with some nice Lemony Citrus and Wheat notes. There’s also a Bready yeast tone to this one, almost like Bakers Yeast. I feel as though it carries the Tart Fruit flavours well throughout the brew. It’s well carbonated with and Medium-Dry on the finish.

Unfortunately, London Sour seems to be Out of Stock online at the moment. Probably because of the Sun we’ve been having. You can pick it up at Sourced Market in St. Pancras station, or if you’re willing to wait you can grab it online at the following:

Eebria

BeerMerchants

BeerHawk

EST. CALORIES: 114   ABV: 3.8%

Sour – Collaboration: English: Wild Beer Co. New Zealand: Good George Beer English: Burning Sky Shnoodlepip

Well, I’m back and trying to fight my jetlag whilst writing this, I think that’s why the picture I took of this one looks extremely sinister (a complete accident). But what better way to cure Jetlag than a great Sour Beer and a bit of Sunshine?

This Friday’s beer is Shnoodlepip. A collaboration of Wild Beer Co from Somerset, Good George Beer from New Zealand and Burning Sky in Sussex. What I admire about Wild Beer Co is that they really push the boundaries of beer, and teaming up with these other craft brewers meant that there definitely wouldn’t be an exception to the regular schedule, if you can call their brewing schedule regular!

Let’s start with the online description of the beer:

A collaboration of three brewers, three nationalities and six ideas brought together to learn, experiment and enjoy. Made by Kelly Ryan from Good George Beer in NZ, Brett Ellis (originally from the US) from the Wild Beer Co, and Mark Tranter from Burning Sky Brewery. This beer explores new ideas, techniques, ingredients, combinations and processes.

Using all three brewers combined knowledge and experiences to create an incredibly unusual and complex beer, this utilises every opportunity to take advantage of amazing ingredients and try alternative techniques.

Full body, gentle-sweet spiciness, a dry depth with oak undertones, and tropical fruit character, all finished off with tangy Hibiscus flowers – this is one shnoodlepippin beer!

I like this description, it’s very light hearted, gives you an insight into how the beer was brewed and the story of the collaboration. What’s also great about it, is that it doesn’t give too much away and although flavours are mentioned, it leaves it open to the “beerholder” (a phrase I learnt in the United States last week!)

Let’s start with the hops in this beer, I believe that the New Zealand influence is definitely on the Hop front and New Zealand Pacifica Hops have been used. As for the malts, I think Two-Row and Caramel Malt have been used, using the Sour Mash method along with Somerset Sharpham Farm Spelt. During Secondary Fermentation in Red Wine Barrels, the Pink Peppercorns are added. Later on, it’s “Dry Hopped” with the Hibiscus and Passion Fruit for a little longer to ensure the flavours come out in the final product. It’s fermented with Brettanomyces Yeast to really get the residual sugars out and create even more of a sour flavour.

When you pour this beer, it’s a very colourful Orange with a medium head which dissipates very quickly. I’d also say it’s as fizzy as Champagne. On the nose there’s lots of Brett Yeast aromas, Spelt which is similar to Wheat in the aroma, Passion fruit and some peppery notes with hints of Honey and Summer Berries. On the Palate it’s a little less complicated, but still delicious with a lot of Sour Brett Notes with Passion Fruit and a light Peppery note in the background, malty sour mash flavours carry throughout. It’s quite a thin feeling beer in the mouth but, as I said the beer is very fizzy and the bubbles more than make up for the body and bulk it up a little. I often find that Sours that have a little more bubbles always go down very well. It finishes dry.

This is a perfect Spring beer, if you can get your hands on it!

You can buy Shnoodlepip in the UK at:

Amazon (out of stock)

The Pint Shop, Cambridge

Bottledog, London

EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%

Berliner Weisse – English: Buxton Red Raspberry Rye

This Friday’s beer is another Sour, this time made in England by one of my favourite brewers – Buxton. Whilst Wednesday’s beer was a Lambic, this one’s a Berliner Weisse which is one of my favourite styles. It’s also brewed with Rye as one of the fermentables. I originally had this beer on my trip to Buxton, but I enjoyed it so much I purchased a few bottles the next day.

Let’s start with Buxton‘s Description of the beer:

Red Raspberry Rye is a tart Berliner weisse style beer brewed with whole raspberries. This sour fruit beer contains barley, wheat, rye, hops, yeast and raspberries. It contains 100g raspberries per liter. It is soured naturally in the copper for 4 days before boiling.

A very matter of fact description from Buxton, which they are known for. The first time I saw the description it made me really want to try the beer, but it didn’t tell me how it should taste and it didn’t try to “stick it to the man” in big beer. That’s why although clearly from Videos, the Buxton Staff are lively it’s clear when it comes to beer they always concentrate 100% on it.

Let’s start with the malt and mashing process first, the malt in this beer is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with Rye and White Wheat as fermentables. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops in this beer are hard to determine, but I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in this brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. After this, it’s fermented with quite a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation raspberries are added for 10 days.

This beer pours a deep Red, almost Ruby colour with a quickly dissipating fizzy head leaving no lacing. Usually wheat is great for Head Retention, but in this beer, probably due to the Sugar from the Raspberries. On the nose there’s lots of Sour, almost Fruit Pastille like Raspberry, some Lacto and an underlying Rye Toastyness. This couldn’t smell any different to a Lambic with the same fruit! The taste lived up to the great nose, lots of Sour, Jam like Tart Raspberry, ending with some delicious toasty Rye notes lingering on the Palate. The beer is medium to high carbonated, quite full bodied and finishes medium sweet. I thought that was a beer that was incredibly balanced and I really do recommend it. Make these warmer Spring days that are bound to be few and far between good.

You can buy Red Raspberry Rye in the UK at:

All in stock at time of writing.

Beer Ritz

Mother Kelly’s

Beer Gonzo

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%

Sours/Berliner Weissebier: Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Peche

To mark the mid-point of August I’ve picked this one. Although the Berliner Weissebier is a German style, I thought I would pick Dogfish Head Festina Pêche beer due to it being a great example of a Berliner Weisse and Sours/This style being very popular in America as of late.

As always, let’s start with Dogfish Head‘s description of the beer:

A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse, Festina Peche is available in 4-packs and on draft during the sweaty months.

Sadly, there are only a few breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style, which is characterized by its intense tartness (some say sour). There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer!

In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic (or green apple-like) character. Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.

In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup. Just open and enjoy!

A medium to long description on this one, but Dogfish always like to give a decent description of their beers. Festina Pêche is a seasonal offering from Dogfish and since the release I am talking about in this post apparently the “tart” flavour has been reduced which I think is a shame given the popularity of sour beers in the US at the moment.

After tasting this beer and doing some research, I think the grains used in this are Castle Château Pilsen 2-Row for the malted barley and Rahr White Wheat for the wheat part. This is Dogfish Head, so I’m guessing they have used Centennial Hops in this brew, but it isn’t a very hoppy beer so it’s hard to tell and could well be Kent Goldings which would also work very well. Someone at Dogfish Head told a friend of mine in Delaware that they used Champagne Yeast to ferment the beer which makes sense as it does have a very sharp taste. I must congratulate them on this, as it can be quite a difficult yeast to deal with.

The beer pours with a very light yellow/amber colour with a thin white head which fades to a thin cap, this is pretty standard for a Berliner Weiss. The only difference is that the carbonation is a lot higher than usual for this style, again probably due to the Champagne Yeast. The carbonation makes you think it’s going to be as fizzy as a supermarket lemonade but it calms down after a while and starts to look very inviting. The smell of this beer is very complex, it has hints of malt, wheat and the peach concentrate is most definitely there. There is also that sour tarty smell from the Lacto conversion of some of the Sugars into Lactic Acid and there’s a small grassy hint that there are hops in the beer (not that this is the most important part of this style). The first thing you notice when you taste this beer is the intense tart sourness of the peaches, the sugar really has been stripped out but it’s such a great addition to such a classic style. You get the wheat and malt after this intense hit and then a slight piney hop bitterness to finish off. The beer goes down very smooth but it is as dry as a Pinot Grigio. The carbonation is still almost champagne-esque but it’s nothing too bad and the quality and complexity of this brew brushes off this almost negative point.

Unfortunately Dogfish Head beers are extremely hard to get in the UK as they have stopped distribution here to concentrate on expanding their market in the US. However, if you get a chance to try or buy this beer in America or you can ask someone to bring it back for you I seriously recommend you do. If you want to try a Craft Berliner Weissbier in the UK that is brewed in the UK I would recommend Siren Craft Brew’s Calypso, you could even add some peach concentrate to try and replicate this great Dogfish Head brew. If you’re looking for something closer to the traditional style, I would recommend Berliner Kindl Weisse but I must warn you it is extremely sour!

EST. CALORIES: 135   ABV: 4.5%