07 October 2016

Who you calling a homophone?

Session logo Our host for the October Session is Derek from Ramblings of a Beer Runner and the topic he has chosen is gose, the native beer style of Leipzig. This light wheat beer, typically brewed with coriander and salt, survived near-extinction and has gone on to become one of the world's most fashionable styles among the crafterati. And, as Derek notes, it's becoming more famous for its chronic mispronunciation in the anglophone world of craft beer than for its unique production method and resulting flavour. So, even though everyone else is doing it, I'd like that to be my lesson out of this round of The Session: it's not pronounced "goes" and examples should not have names that make puns as though it were.

Arriving just in time for my deadline this month was a freebie bottle of Fyne Ales's This Gose (grrr) and a pack of smoked salmon from their collaborators Loch Fyne Oysters. According to the press blurb, and indeed the bottle label, the two are intended to match perfectly with each other. Let's how that goes (pronounced "goes").

The beer is a light 3.8% ABV (compare the whopping 6% of YellowBelly's one) and a pale clear yellow, topped by an ultra-fine layer of white spume. There's very little aroma but the texture is beautiful: soft and round, like a nitrokeg weissbier. The flavour starts out like an unadorned gose: a pinch of salt, mild herbs, and a clean finish. But in between, presumably from the unorthodox inclusion of lemongrass in the recipe, there's an out-of-character lemon flavour, like lemon meringue pie. I swear I even get the dry crunch of the topping and sweet biscuit of the base. It sits rather oddly next to the other savoury elements of the flavour, but not at all unpleasantly. And I took an embarrassingly long time to make the lemon connection to the salmon. Bring on the fish!

"Mild cure" said the packaging, but in my opinion it was anything but. This beast was massively smokey, just how I like it, with a gorgeous melty sushi-esque texture. As a match for the beer though? No, I'm not feeling it. The smokiness absolutely smothers the subtlety of the gose, drowning out salt, coriander and lemon alike. I was left with that nice smooth fizz to counterbalance the oils, but frankly I'd have been just as happy with a decent pilsner or pale ale.

It was a fun experiment and I don't for a second want to sound ungrateful for free beer and free fish, but the two just didn't quite dovetail for me. Any chance we can try this again with a grodziskie? This Gose, meanwhile, works better by itself. Just remember how to say it, yeah?


  1. Thon fella up north10:29 pm

    But you didn't mention how to pronounce it correctly? I say guh-zuh .... tomato/tomato :-P

    1. Hey, I'm the pronunciation police. Pronunciation rehabilitation is a different window.