And So it Gose: A Review of Two Very Different Beers

  • 08/30/2012
  • Terelle Jerricks

Michael Koger, Contributing Writer

Beer is best shared between two people.

I recently acquired two very interesting beers, so I called my buddy Andrew, with whom I brew beer, to share them with me and play some cards.

The beers in question are Samuel Adams’ Verloren Gose and Firestone Walker’s XV Anniversary.  Both beers are very unique for completely different reasons and are reviewed below separately.

Gose is one of the least represented beer style categories you can possibly think of.  With its history tracing back to ancient Saxony, what separates Gose beers from other beer styles is its defining ingredient: Salt.

All Gose beers are made with salt. It’s up to the brewers to decide how much salt to use.  This is only the second Gose I’ve ever had, so I don’t have much to which to compare it.  However, it still proves to be an interesting and decent beer. Clocking in at 6 percent alcohol-by-volume, Verloren is not a heavy beer.  It pours with decent carbonation and the beer itself is a light orange color when held up to the light. It smells sweet. The notes on the back of the bottle tell the drinker it is a wheat based beer and it definitely tastes like a sweetened hefeweizen. The salt isn’t very noticeable, but it’s there if you really look for it. The one other Gose I had, The Bruery’s Salt of the Earth, was very salt forward. However, this was nice.  Verloren is also made with coriander which blends nicely with the sweet, almost fruit like, notes.

The next beer was Firestone Walker’s 15th Anniversary ale, which is a blend of eight different Firestone Walker beers. According to the information sheet included in the box, it’s 76 percent barleywine, 19 percent  stout and 5 percent Imperial India pale ale. So how does it taste?  Delicious.

If I was a cigar smoker, this would definitely be a beer to pair with a good stogie. The barleywine and imperial stout beers give it a sweet, slightly boozy taste, but the ever-so-slight hop presence helps balance everything out. This was released this past year and has aged beautifully.  What makes this beer interesting is the fact that the brewers at Firestone Walker invited wine blenders from the area surrounding the brewery to decide on the particular blend.  In the end, I think it really helped the beer. At 12.50 percent alcohol-by-volume, it is definitely a sipper.  As the beer warms up, a lot of the complexities from the barrel aging begins to shine through and showcase how smooth of a beer this is. Firestone Walker will soon be releasing their Double Double Barrel Ale and their 16th Anniversary Ales, both of which should prove to age gracefully if you choose to cellar them (see previous entry on how to properly cellar beers).

While neither of these beers are new, both are unique because they represent two very different approaches to beer making. Whereas Firestone Walker’s 15th Anniversary represents new approaches to and thoughts regarding what beer can be, Samuel Adam’s Verloren Gose represents another movement in beer to bring back ancient styles of beer making (Dogfish Head from Delaware has done this as well with several beers). The end result is the same though: delicious beer that expands and develops the drinker’s palate.

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