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One four-letter word on the label of this beer made me pick it up: salt. I had never seen a brewery list salt as an ingredient of beer before, but I had also never heard of the ancient German beer style called Gose, a sour and saline beer that is associated with the city of Leipzig.
Leipzig is in East Germany, so was part of the Soviet Bloc. Apparently, the brewing of Gose nearly died under the Communist regime, and was only revived by craft brewers when the wall came tumbling down in 1989. Originally brewed with naturally salty water, craft brewers added their own salt to replicate the style. Coriander is also used in this style of beer.
Brewed with malted wheat and barley, the slight sourness comes from lactic bacteria. Germans drink Gose in tall, cylindrical glasses and sometimes add raspberry or woodruff syrup, as is also done with the sour beer Berliner Weiss.
The August Schell Brewing Company’s gose also pays tribute to an area in the brewery’s hometown of New Ulm, Minn., that was known as Goosetown, where geese-keeping German-Bohemian immigrants settled in the 1800s.
The sour aspect of Schell’s version of gose is toned down for the American palate, I think, but, still, it does have a bright, citrusy presence. I did not detect much coriander, either. However, it definitely finishes with a salty presence that I really enjoyed. This is a very refreshing beer.
I followed that up with one of my favorite fall seasonals, Apple Ale from New Glarus Brewing Co.
The only thing missing is the crunch. This is one appley ale. It’s a great seasonal, made, last time I checked with brewer Dan Carey, with apples from Door County, Wis.
It reminds me of my youth in Duluth and a product called Apple Beer. It was really a soft drink, not a beer. I remember it coming in a classy-looking black can. You have to wonder how they got away with selling it to kids with that name back in the day. I doubt it would fly today.
Apple Beer was an exotic soft drink. Sure, it cost a few pennies more than your standard soda, but it was delicious and worth the extra cost.
I don’t think it was around for long, but it firmly planted itself in the furrowed fields of my mind, and drinking Apple Ale brings me to that exact spot.
(Note: After writing the above, I Googled Apple Beer, not expecting to find much of anything. What I found was that it has been made since 1964 – and continues to be made – by a family owned company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Check it out at applebeer.com.)