10 August 2016

Unpainted desert

It's a pale one, is Sierra Nevada Otra Vez: a wan and weak looking straw yellow in need of a hot shower and a good meal. The can tells me this is a "Gose-style ale ... brewed with cactus and grapefruit." Does anyone remember when we used to call things like this "extreme beer"? It's like "kidult": we don't need the word any more, because it's everyone.

Otra Vez (roughly, "once again", because session, innit) doesn't have much of an aroma: just a cold water metal and a sweeter note that reminds me of a bright pink prickly pear liqueur I bought abroad once -- I guess that's the cactus. The flavour is...  fun on first impressions and needs a little unpacking. A thin texture sends an immediate signal that this is watery and dull, but it doubles back with that sweet cactus liqueur kick which adds a convincing illusion of thickness. And then, switching tracks again there's a lightly tangy and super-clean tartness, and just a trace of savoury coriander.

The cactus squats too firmly on the flavour for this to really deserve being badged as gose or gose-style. I'm increasingly of the opinion that gose shouldn't be considered a base on which to play about with unusual ingredients: it's a fine style just as it is. But at the same time there's absolutely nothing wrong with, in this case, throwing some pink cactus juice into a low-strength pale tart ale, and then throwing back the result. As an extreme session herbal fruit sour ale it's just perfect, though is probably best enjoyed without overthinking how it works.

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