Until the other day I’d never tried a Gose, but now, having enjoyed a glass, I must say I rather like it and would certainly give the beer another go. With its unusual inclusion of coriander and salt in the grist, I found the beer surprisingly refreshing and definitely much more palatable and agreeable than a German Weisse Bier.
Due to various trading links, the beer was slowly introduced to other parts of Germany, and it became particularly popular in the city of Leipzig; so much so that local breweries copied the style. By the end of the 1800s, it was considered to be local to Leipzig and there were numerous Gosenschänken (Gose taverns) in the city.
Gose belongs to the same family of sour wheat beers which were once brewed across Northern Germany and the Low Countries. Other beers of this family are Belgian Witbier, Berliner Weisse, Broyhan, and Polish Grodziskie
My example was purchased through Beers of Europe, and was labelled Original Leipziger Gose. It is a naturally conditioned beer, but because my bottle had been standing for so long in an upright position in the fridge, it poured virtually clear, with just a slight haze. When I looked, there was quite a crust of yeast remaining in the bottom of the bottle.
The beer maintained a reasonable head until over half way down the glass. There was nothing much in the way of aroma, but on the palate there was a refreshing sharpness, which blended well with the coriander. I could also taste the salt lurking, quite prominently, in the background.
My bottle was brewed at the Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei; a brewpub and beer hall housed at the Bayerischer Bahnhof in Leipzig. For the rail buffs amongst us, the Leipzig Bavarian station is Germany's oldest preserved railway station, which first opened in 1842 for the Leipzig–Hof Railway, by the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company
The station was closed in 2001 for the construction of the Leipzig City Tunnel. It re-opened in December 2013 after the completion of the tunnel. Since then it is integrated into S-Bahn system. The new station is built directly underneath the site of the former station which has been converted to a variety of uses, including a brew-pub; as mentioned above.
Gose’s popularity eventually waned, and by the outbreak of World War II, only one Leipzig brewery continued to produce the style. After the war, the brewery was nationalised by the East German government, and eventually closed. Gose clung on stubbornly, but were it not for the work of pub owner Lothar Goldhahn, who wanted to revive the style, in order to sell it at the "Ohne Bedenken", a former Gosenschenke, which he was restoring, it is likely the beer would have disappeared altogether.
Goldhahn questioned local drinkers in order to ascertain its precise characteristics, and then searched for a brewery to produce it, but no local brewery was willing to make such strange beer. Eventually the Schultheiss Berliner-Weisse-Brauerei in East Berlin agreed, and following successful test brews production started in 1986.
Gose has again found popularity, and the style is now brewed outside Germany, in the United States, Canada and Britain. As I discovered, it is an extremely pleasant and thirst quenching beer, making it the ideal drink for a hot summer’s day, (not many of those around at the moment!).