The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose: A Gose By Any Other Name Wouldn’t Be So Sour

2014-11-23 at 18-15-24

Say it with me: Goe-ZUH. Not gose. Not goose. Goe-ZUH. 

Good. We’re all on the same page.

The gose is a German style of brewing that most resembles an American-style sour. Now, this is not the sour flavor you find in Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche — a neo-Berliner weisse. That is a peach-flavored sour that draws its tartness from the yeast, which absorbs the sugars released by the fruit. The gose style relies on malted wheat, which manifests itself into a lemon tartness, and salt.

Yeah, salt. (If you are on a low-sodium diet, the editor of Al Dente suggest that you consult with your family physician, cardiologist, osteopath, or next-door neighbor before consuming a gose)

Legend (according to Wikipedia) has it that the gose nearly died with Guido Pfinster. Guido’s stepdad, Friedrich Wurzler, opened a brewery following World War II in what was left of Leipzig. Prior to the skirmish, he worked at brewery and new the secrets of the gose. Friedrich died in the late 1950s, passing along his secrets to Guido. Pfinster met his untimely demise in 1966, as did the family brewery — it closed — and the gose recipe.

Fast forward to this summer. Sure, other American breweries make a gose, but I’m not concerned with them tonight. No, I want to talk about Anderson Valley Brewing Company from Boonville, Calif — about a two-hour drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge. AVBC has been brewing its beers since the late 1980s, when it was the local brewpub. It is now recognized as a first-rate craft brewer with a distribution network of more than 35 states, including our fine tract of land here in New York.

2014-11-23 at 18-15-49

2014-11-23 at 18-15-25So, every brewery has a shtick and AVBC’s is pretty cool. Back at the turn of the century (the last one, not this one), the residents of Boonville were apparently bored as they waited for the arrival of the next gold rush and/or earthquake, so they invented their own language: Boontling. No one knows the exact origin of the language, whether it was to gossip or have inappropriate conversation with offending others, or if it was the result of children trying to slip something by their elders. What we do know is that Boontling has elements of the languages present on the lush hop fields that the townfolk maintained: English, Spanish, Gaelic, Celtic and Native American dialects. Bahl Hornin (translated: Good Drinking) appears on every label. This series of beers, under the Highway 128 Session Series, carry the name The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose (Kimmie: man or father; Yink: boy or son; it’s a Boontling pun: The father, the son and holy gose. Get it?)

The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose landed on my radar after Will Gordon discussed it in his Drunkspin space on Deadspin. He wrote: “This is a seriously good 4.2-percent-ABV beer that is plenty interesting yet less funky than it sounds. It was made to be sucked down in large gulps interspersed with dark pretzels.” I’m not sure that there is a better way to describe it, so I won’t try.

AVBC’s produces two gose-style beers under The Kimmie, et al flag. The brewers add Lactobacillus bacteria in the wort to promote the souring of both. They each utilize salt water to increase the tartness and introduce sea salt following fermentation for good measure.

2014-11-23 at 18-26-18

2014-11-23 at 18-21-00Brewer: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer: The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Gose
Style: Gose
ABV: 4.2%   IBU: n/a
Container: 12 oz. can
Price: $11.49 (per six-pack) Point of Purchase: Byrne Dairy, Liverpool, N.Y.
To The Eye: Clear and golden with a head that disappears quickly
To The Nose: Sour and acidic
To The Palate: Tart. Lemon notes hits you first with tropical fruits following. The acidity is present throughout, as is the salt.
Aftertaste: Dry, like a champagne or sparkling white wine
Boozy Factor: At 4.2%, it’s easy to grab a third or fourth of these
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 8


2014-11-23 at 18-17-14

2014-11-23 at 18-20-49Brewer: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer: The Kimmie, The Yink and The Holy Hose Blood Orange
Style: Gose
ABV: 4.2%   IBU: n/a
Container: 12 oz. can
Price: $11.49 (per six-pack) Point of Purchase: Byrne Dairy, Liverpool, N.Y.
To The Eye: Clear and golden, though I swore I saw an orange tinge when pouring
To The Nose: Full of the sour blood orange
To The Palate: Not as tart, but which is where the orange has its greatest effect. Same acid level. Same salinity.
Aftertaste: Dry, but more like a dry hard cider rather than the standard version of this beer
Boozy Factor: Very smooth. It could be a perfect summer hot day beer.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 8.5


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