12 oz. Curls: Freigeist Geisterzug Gose offers a tasty lesson in sour beer

Beer time!
Gose-style beer was first brewed in the 16th century and remains popular to this day. — image via Braustelle

Freigeist Geisterzug Gose, brewed by Braustelle of Cologne, Germany, is a tasty and refreshing lesson in German beer history.

Gose is a style of sour beer that originated in Goslar, Germany and was very popular in Leipzig. The beer’s back label refers to gose as being “nearly-extinct.” However, over 200 different goses are listed on Nearly-extinct? Perhaps not any more. Regardless, brewing nearly-extinct beer styles is the specialty for Freigeist, the experimental offshoot of Braustelle.

According to Randy Moser’s Tasting Beer, gose is brewed with 40 percent barley malt and 60 percent wheat malt. Gose is commonly seasoned with coriander and salt, and Geisterzug (“Ghost Train”) Gose is, according to the label, also spiced with spruce.

Along with a weizen glass, BeerAdvocate also recommends serving gose in a stange — a tall, straight-sided glass that is more commonly associated with another traditional German beer style, kölsch.

Serving type: 500 ml bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy, straw color into a 400 ml stange. A white, meringue-like head rises quickly, settles slowly, and leaves a billowy cap and trails of lacing along the glass.

Smell: The aroma is very inviting and complex. The aromas include invigorating, lemonade-like citrus, yeast, a little bit of sour fruit (perhaps apple), wheat malt, coriander spice and a light, grassy funk. It is somewhat reminiscent of radler. The promised spruce, though, seems to be a no-show.

Taste: The funk and sourness are front and center. The funk conjures memories of a hayrack ride on a cool, autumn day. The mouthfeel is light on the tongue and also dry. Flavors of citrus rind (somewhat reminiscent of lemonade), yeast, wheat malt, and a hint of coriander spice are noticeable. As it was with the aroma, the spruce seems to be absent.

Drinkability: This is quite a tasty and refreshing history lesson — definitely the way European history should be taught!

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