No matter your preference or how you choose it, there is always a beer that will perfectly fit your situation. My situation? Like many other Floridians, I’m currently trying to survive another hellacious summer without ending up on the news, appearing as the infamous Florida Man, courtesy of my heat-induced insanity.
Lucky for me, I’ve found the appropriate preventive measure: beer.
As the sun bludgeons you with its rays and the humidity threatens to strangle the breath from your lungs, reaching for a beer may be your only salvation from the subtropic beatdown. Florida summers demand a beverage that can keep up with the heat. And the best beers always showcase the natural, local elements of their surroundings.
For me, this beverage comes in the form of a sour beer called Gose (pronounced ‘goes-uh’). A light, refreshing wheat beer, Gose is brewed with coriander and salt giving, it a cracker-like wheatiness, with delicate floral notes and a slight salinity on the finish. During the brewing process, the beer is allowed to be “infected” with the friendly bacteria lactobacillus. The lacto goes to work, adding a tartness to it reminiscent of sour citrus. While this may sound like an odd combination of flavors, they work rather well together.
Wheat beers — which cut back on the malt to make a lighter beer that’s also lower in alcohol — usually make for very sessionable beer. The tartness and coriander reminds me of fresh citrus and flowers (two things Florida has in abundance). The salty finish leaves your mouth slightly dry, begging for another sip while also making the quaff perfect for drinking at the beach or out on the boat while fishing.
The Gose style originated in Germany, where it went extinct several times, and was revived several times over. So it’s a good thing that brewers of American craft beer have taken a liking to the style, as more and more breweries add Gose to their seasonal or core lineup. Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s The Kimmie, the Yink, and the Holy Gose (Anderson Valley, CA) is a wonderful interpretation of the style, with more sourness than one would usually expect. On the opposite end of the Gose-spectrum, Sixpoint’s Jammer (Brooklyn, NY) is a little truer to style, with a very subdued tartness and a heavier salinity in the finish. Boulevard’s Hibiscus Gose (Kansas City, MO) enhances the floral aspect of the coriander. Looking locally, Aardwolf Brewery in San Marco offers a Gose that is definitive of the style: extremely crisp, light, a very mild tartness on the middle of the palate, with a salty finish.
Gose’s light style can be easily overpowered by flavors that are too bold. Keeping with the beach theme, pairing a slightly tart, saltier Gose with seafood works wonderfully. Lemon-dressed tilapia, ceviche, or other mild seafood such as scallops comes to mind. Green salads with tangy dressings are also appropriate.