So Widmer is getting in on the sour beer action. Or, as described on their website, they are “perfecting the art of tart.” Good, but you’re not quite there yet. All told, this is our third beer from Widmer, including Nelson Imperial IPA and Drifter Pale Ale.
We had this beer served to us in a tulip glass at South Park Tavern; it is a delicate bordello shade of dusty rose with a thin white head reduced to a ring by the time it appeared at our table. The nose features a gummy wheat aroma mixed with floral esters and a touch of sour that is almost but not quite lactic. It does better approach a lactic tang in the nose as it warms. As well, there is no real salt or salinity detectable in the nose. Flavors start with a malty bread dough and wheat coupled with salt, followed by hibiscus and a slight saline tang before moving into a soft and refrained cleansing lactic bite towards the finish—it does taste more like acidulated malt than lactobacillus—with hibiscus & berry, both of which linger on the tongue. The body is medium and doughy/gummy with a gentle carbonation that enhances the wheat character of the beer. The delicate, soft, and rounded body is offered a touch of brightness via the hibiscus. The berry flavor comes out as it warms; initially, it is only in the finish, and it took over a bit too much in the final quarter of the glass. An interesting beer, but it needs more lactic sourness and more salt—it is more a gose dressed-up for Joe Sixpack, which ultimately means it is more fruit beer than gose. It is certainly lacking the balance seen in Jackie O’s Raspberry Berliner Weisse, which deftly combines fruit and sour without sacrificing either. I am glad that someone is commercially producing a gose, and I understand the need to make it palatable to wider audience, but, well, I am a bit disappointed.
From the Widmer website: “Gose is a traditional cloudy German-style wheat beer that balances tart and slightly salty flavors with a soft malt background. Our unique take uses a healthy dose of Oregon-grown marionberries as well as dried hibiscus flowers for a tart, floral profile with clove & coriander flavors to round it out. Prost! Or Goseanna!”