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Salty lemon


Choc Brewing Co. has released the first Gose available in Oklahoma, and one of only a very few available anywhere.

Greg Horton October 12th, 2011

Judging by the descriptions of its fans, Gose (pronounced goes-ah) sounds like a lemon-drop martini gone awry. Greg Powell, general manager of TapWerks Ale House, 121 E. Sheridan, said, “It’s like sucking on a lemon with a little salt on it.”

Gose is a beer native to Leipzig, Germany, and the style almost disappeared in the mid-20th century. Thanks to the hard work of Lothar Goldhahn, a Leipzig pub owner, Gose made a comeback in the 1980s.

Zach Prichard, president of Choc Beer Co., said he encountered the style while on a day trip away from a trade show in Nuremberg last year.

“I’d heard of the style,” he said, “but it was hard to come by, since so few brewers make it. When I finally got to taste it, I enjoyed it.”

Prichard acquired a few bottled samples of the beer while in Germany, and he used them as a guide to create Choc’s own version of the beer.

right, Greg Powell (right) and Chelsea Chandler at TapWerks

“The beer is straightforward as far as the ingredients go,” he said, “but the souring process is tricky.”

That process, which includes allowing the naturally occurring bacteria to create lactic acid, gives the Gose its very distinctive, lemony tartness. Additionally, the beer is brewed with salted water, imparting an initial salinity that hits the front of the palate hard.

Once past the saltiness, however, intense flavors of lemon, coriander, baked bread and banana combine with a slight effervescence that creates a huge mouthfeel and an amazingly zippy finish.

“Choc Gose is one of the most unique beers I’ve ever had,” said David Lack, owner of Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway. “With an explosion of lemon and lime on the front, the waterworks set off immediately in your mouth. It ends with a nice, salty, dry finish that leaves you wanting more.”

Prichard said the response has been largely positive so far. “I think people who pick this up are looking for something new, different and complex,” he said. “We’ve poured it at some events and festivals, and people are pretty divided on it, with some of them just being turned off by the saltiness and tartness.”

Powell agreed: “Even for people who are willing to step outside the box, the reviews have still been mixed,” he said. “We have so few sour beers available in the market; people have no experience with the style. This beer has to be experienced.”

The Gose is a limited production in both bottles and kegs. It’s currently available at TapWerks and Broadway Wine Merchants, as well as McNellie’s, 1100 Classen Drive, and The Abner Ale House, 121 E. Main in Norman.

Photo by Mark Hancock

 
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