Be warned: many puns were harmed in the making of this beer.
Puns N’ Goses 3.7% German Sour Wheat – or a “Gose” to the initiated beer pundit – was the source of much word play, thanks to a new beer style for Kelly to brew, over-worked in-house punny heads, and a Facebook competition.
“This particular beer was a fun one to make, not only because it was the first time I’d brewed it, but because we put naming rights out to the public and had a competition to name it. There were some pretty awesome, witty titles that cropped up!” says Kelly. [Congrats on coming up with the winning name, Sean Golding!]
Gose is a German style of beer from a town in Germany called Leipzig, and there’s a theory its style name was also born of punny wordplay, and named for a town nearby called Goslar.
Not to be confused with the Geuze (a sour beer from Belgium), Gose is a German ale – a wheat beer, effectively – that uses a high proportion of wheat and a Lager or Pilsener malt.
“It’s the only beer in all of Germany, which is allowed to use ingredients outside the German Beer Purity Law, Reinheitsgebot, [meaning beer can only be made with four ingredients: water, hops, barley and yeast], and is allowed the use of coriander and sea salt,” says Kelly.
Currently Kelly is so keen on the Gose and its resultant word play, it’s his dream to brew one for Fork & Brewer taps as a quarterly release, based on seasonality.
“This was the very first time I’ve done a Gose on a large scale [beyond Kelly’s first 50L Gose, Bem & Gose last April], to see if I could do a half decent Gose. It was a thousand litres, so a pretty big trial!
“On a recent trip to the US, this was the style that really stood out for Colin and I. Brewers were doing all sorts of things with Goses, and it was drinking consistently well, wherever we went.
“As a backbone for a style, some people are using Brettanomyces [yeast] in it, some people are dry hopping them, fruiting them, spicing them – getting really creative. So that was kind of the inspiration, really.
“Particularly a beer called Westbrook Gose. It’s a bit stronger but it just had the perfect balance of lovely, lemony citrus from the bacteria and coriander, and it was so drinkable! It has quite a low pH: 3.1, same as Puns N’ Goses.
“So the inspiration kind of came from this beer for my version. And hopefully it’s a beer that start getting people prepped for summer (even though we haven’t had a winter!).
Even though sour beers have had a polarising reputation amongst palates, Kiwi beer drinkers are beginning to show more than a passing keenness for them and the many creative interpretations that can come along with them.
“I think if you execute it properly and get the right amount of sourness and saltiness so that it gives really good drinkability, it’s a super refreshing beer,” Kelly says.
“Salt – sodium chloride – is pretty cool, because it does some pretty interesting things to your palate. It helps to accentuates sourness, and also helps to open your tastebuds a little bit, and give a higher percentage of sweetness.
“Kind of like when you take slightly unripe pineapple and dip it in salt – it makes it so much sweeter. So based on that concept, you get this sort of nice, salty-sweet-sour balance with the beer.”
Instead of using traditional salt to the Gose, Kelly decided to use seawater, collected from the Cook Strait (which, if we’re staying true to Reinheitsgebot, technically still sits within its Beer Purity Laws!).
“I brewed a beer a wee while back called Big Tahuna IPA, which also used saltwater, and I thought it would be interesting to do the same for this Gose,” he says.
“It was a little more challenging than just measuring out salt and pouring it in! There was quite a bit of chemistry involved in trying to get the right amount of salt from the seawater.
“I just used some stats on our local water in terms of how much sodium chloride is present in our seawater.
“That seawater was boiled up to be sterilised, and then I calculated it back from what I thought was going to give a good perception. Then I just tasted the wort!
“So I put some in prior to the souring, tasted it once it was sour, and then added a little bit more saltwater at the second boil.”
Kelly used his house yoghurt bacteria to sour the brew – the same used to sour his beers, Sourbet, Tainted Love & Yoghurt & Bruesli – and then added some ground Indian Coriander.
“You get two different types of coriander – a round and oval seed – and I went with the oval seed, Indian Coriander, because it’s a lot more citrusy,” he says.
“And it’s really cool because you kind of get this perceived savoury character in the beer, almost kind of like celery salt. So it has celery tonic character to it.
“It’s always a challenge to work out how much coriander and salt to add. It’s just a bit of educated guesswork.
“With a Gose you don’t want it to be understated, otherwise, it’s a Berliner Weisse. And you want to have that salt character present, but then you don’t want it too salty.”
Kel filtered the beer quite coarsely, as, traditionally, this style of beer isn’t filtered.
“There’s still a little bit of yeast in it – I didn’t want big, loping bits of yeast, which is why I decided to filter it. And it also used a wheat malt; so that gives the beer a lovely, cloudy, wheat malt haze from the protein of the wheat.”
The final beer is a sessionable, white palate, very pale beer with a low bitterness, bittered with Southern Cross, a New Zealand hop.
“Generally, a Gose ABV would sort of be around 4-5%,” says Kelly.
“I did mine a wee bit lower at 3.7% just because I wanted something quite tart, quenching, refreshing and drinkable. As much as I love beers that are around that 4-5% mark for drinkability, this is a good test run for a beer, which could eventually be a really awesome summer drinking beer.”
Kelly calls Puns N’ Goses “the ultimate fish and chip beer”.
“Just with that saltiness! As long as the fish and chips aren’t over salted, along with that citrusy tang, which is like a squeeze of lemon juice on your fish, with a really good dill aioli or mayonnaise – I reckon it would be legit.”
Better gose and try some this Wednesday.
Footnote: We cannot promise the Gose puns will be put to bed with this brew.
Puns N’ Goses Tasting Notes
Flavour: Puckering sourness dominates the palate with hints of lemon zest, coriander spice and celery salt. Wheat malt contributes a smooth body with a subtle, bready character.
Aroma: Freshly squeezed lemon juice with a hint of candied-fruit ester. Slightest hint of ocean spray in the background.
Look: Pale yellow with a cloudy hue.
Hops: Southern Cross
Malt: Pilsener, Wheat, Rye, Sour Grapes
Yeast: House Strain, Warm-Fermented
Other: Soured with blend of Lactobacillus delbrueckii and Streptococcus thermophiles. Ground Indian Coriander Seeds and Cook Strait Sea Water.