First, a quick word about gose, and my (lack of any prior) familiarity with the genre…
While I’m not one of those proud ignorant critics who knows nothing about beer and calls the elite experts snobs, I’m also not some Instagram brew culture leech pairing my hot curves next to cans for likes. While I’ve probably consumed a few pops in my day that fit the gose complexion, I’m mostly unfamiliar with the style. Just like most of you. So here goes.
Once described as a “sour, German[-style] beer” that is “responsible for the death of the craft beer revolution” by the assholes at Thrillist, gose (pronounced: “gose-a,” I’m pretty sure) is in fact a sour sort but one that I assure you has a lot less baggage than suggested by the aforementioned clickbait. More formally speaking, gose is typically brewed with significant malted wheat, then accented with a salt, lemon, and herb punch. And there’s history as well; according to Brew Your Own magazine:
It has been over 1,000 years since this ale was first brewed. The name itself comes from the river Gose [in Goslar, Germany] that runs through the town, and rightfully so considering the large contribution that the local water has on the beer’s flavor. This particular area was known for mining and one of the most abundant minerals present was salt. Not surprisingly, some of this salt dissolved into the local groundwater which was used during the brewing of their local beer. Since they didn’t have water softeners or bottled water, they just used what they had and made it work.
Smash by the Virginia-based Commonwealth Brewing Company is a pink grapefruit, lime, and guava gose ale. Which happens to come in a ravishing can. I’m not sure if the brewers responsible for this picked guava for their gose just because those words go so damn well next to each other, but in practice they are truly perfect partners, classic along the lines of melon and prosciutto. In the realm of sour type selections that aren’t too sour and sweet things that are not too sweet, Smash is prime to ride the line. This beer is dually unique and accessible, that impossibly rare combination.
At the sake of belaboring the perfection of this sweet, salty, and tart treat too much, I’ll depart on the best part—the punch—which follows the roundhouse that you get on that first sip. There’s a guava buildup that gets dangerously close to bitter before plateauing on a sweet scenic peak, but just hang in there, close your eyes, and let your tongue do all the twisting and tasting.
Once the wound from that initial sip of Smash heals up, a special citrus breakfast blast awaits.