We're not talking beer with a salt rim on the glass, but beer actually brewed with salt. Intentionally. It's called gose, and although the style has been around for centuries, it might just be the new big thing.
Gose comes from the German side of the sour beer family, a branch quite distinct from from Belgium's famous lambics and gueuzes. Don't be confused: although "gose" and "gueuze" sound similar, gose beer is actually named for the German village Goslar and the nearby Gose river.
The beer traditionally consists of roughly half barley malt and half wheat malt, resulting in a hazy golden-colored beer with crisp, crackery notes. Wild yeasts and bacterias give it a funky twang while a dose of coriander adds herbal and lemony flavors.
The salt actually plays a relatively minor role when all is said and done. As with food, the salt is really there to bring everything together. You'll mostly taste it in the finish: a dry and subtle saltiness that makes you thirsty for more.
Since many brewers are experimenting with the style but few are bottling it quite yet, you'll have the most luck finding gose at your local craft brewery. Look for this to start changing as the style picks up momentum. If you have a local liquor store with a good selection of imported beers, you might be able to find the real deal from Germany.
5 Gose to Look For:
• Leipziger Gose from Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayrischer Bahnhof (imported, bottles)
• Verloren Gose from Sam Adams/Boston Beer Company (domestic, bottles)
• Marionberry Hibiscus Gose from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company (domestic, bottles)
• Cascade Seasonal Gose from Cascade Brewing Company (brewery only: Portland, OR)
• Tiny Bubbles Gose from Hollister Brewing Company (brewery only: Goleta, CA)
Have any of you had a chance to try a glass of gose? What do you think of it?
Related: Rogue Ale Developing Beer Made with Yeast Found in Brewmaster's Beard
(Image: Flickr member adambarhan licensed under Creative Commons)