Blood Orange Gose
Blood Orange Gose - 4.2% ABV
Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, California)
Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange Gose pours as a slightly hazy straw color (darker than what I would call "golden") . There is plenty of carbonation, and while it pours with decent head, that dissipates quickly and there is no lacing on the glass.
This beer has a slightly wheaty smell in addition to the sharpness you’d expect from a sour beer or gose. If someone has not had a gose before, the salt will probably be all they taste — it lingers on your lips like salt on a margarita might.
On first taste, the tartness and saltiness hit your tongue hard. I honestly can’t parse out a blood orange, or orange, taste specifically, but you get a vague hint of citrus. In college, an adviser said that goses tasted like sweat to her, so if you’re skeptical of goses for the same reason, I’d recommend this one — the fruit flavors help break through that saltiness as long as you're sipping it slowly.
If you savor a bit, a sweetness breaks through as the carbonation subsides. The beer is on the dry side, which most people would say reflect “champagne notes,” but the champagne I drink is normally too cheap to hold up to these comparisons. The carbonation combined with the dryness, however, does remind me of the mouthfeel of champagne — just with smaller bubbles.
Even though a lower ABV and the light quality of this beer make it easy to drink, I recommend savoring it so that you can break through the initial saltiness of the gose and taste the other flavors this beer has to offer.
When I decide I want a gose, Anderson Valley is typically my go to brewery for options. They have several varieties of gose, and I’ve never met one of their beers that I didn’t like. That being said, my tastes are probably influenced by one of my favorite college beers (a taproom-only - at the time - cucumber lime tritonia from Creature Comforts) and the fact that while I fell in love with the Kimmie, the Yink & the Holy Gose early on, it was only available from my local Hop City on a limited basis.
Fair warning: If you don’t like sour beers or goses specifically, you probably won’t like this beer. I, on the other hand, love them, and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can enjoy a few of these beers poolside.
A little research:
Other reviewers seemed to hate this beer because it was a sour and they didn't expect that, or they overstated the flavor profile, in my opinion. On Beer Advocate, one reviewer mentioned a "cracker malt" and "hint of parmesan," but I honestly did not catch either of those notes.
This beer uses Pale Two-Row and Malted White Wheat malts. The two-row can give a more mild malt experience to a beer, according to this article from Beer & Brewing Magazine. The malted white wheat, however, seems to be more likely as the source of a malty flavor, according to profiles of different malts in that category. Even with that information, I don't get much malt or bread flavor to this beer — the tartness is too powerful.
I found this description of goses which I found interesting because I feel that the goses I typically enjoy don't lean toward the bready qualities that seem to be typical of the style. What do you think — am I drinking the wrong goses, or does my palette just need more work?
If you have any gose suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments.