Gose Beer: Germany’s Michelada

A Gose beer in Leipzig
A Gose beer in Leipzig
Sour, salty, cloudy and refreshing, the radical wheat beer of East Germany called Gose has a flavor reminds some Texans of the Mexican beer cocktail called a michelada, only without the hot sauce.

In German, Gose has two syllables, it’s pronounced GOES-uh. The best version on earth is brewed at the Bayerische Bahnhof, a brewpub and beer garden located next to (and named after) the oldest restored train station in Germany, the Bayerische Bahnhof station in Leipzig.

The original Bayerische Bahnhof station.
The original Bayerische Bahnhof station.

I sat in the beer garden there one afternoon, drinking Gose and eating sliced ham and salami. I even got to watch the brewers wrestle large sacks of grain while getting a batch ready to brew.

All the while, I was thinking that I had made a monumental beer discovery. I couldn’t wait to tell my beer nerd friends about this wonderfully wacky wheat beer.

Back home, I came to find out that Gose has long been beloved in much of the country including Atlanta and Portland. And that not one, but two, Texas brewers are currently making Gose including the heavy hitters at Real Ale. Okay, so it looks like I’m a little late to this party.

IMG_6406 American beer writers are falling all over themselves over this and a few other old obscure wheat beer styles from East Germany and Poland.

I have to admit, it was a nice break after drinking a helluva lot of Pils in Prague and Eastern Germany. And in the middle of the summer, the flavor was perfect.

But the funny thing is, the beer tastes the way it does because of the saltiness of the local water. Halle, a scenic town just outside of Leipzig, is famous for the salt produced by evaporating water drawn from its ancient saline wells.

No wonder nobody in this part of the world drinks tap water. I am guessing that modern brewers add some salt to simulate how bad the East German water used to taste.