If you’re not hip to the Gose yet, you certainly will be soon. This sort-of ancient German style of beer is riding the wave of sour-beer love in the U.S. and making a hell of a come back. A number of craft breweries are now producing traditional and modern takes on the beer, which is known for its bright tart punch and layer of subtle saltiness.
Victory Brewing has joined the ranks of Gose-makers with their Kirsch Gose, a cherry-flavored take on the style. Cherry indeed. Just look at that beer—with all the bubbles and that florescent rose color, it looks like a Shirley Temple.
The nose is all about cherries as well, and then there’s the taste, which is cherry first, and Gose second. It’s an interesting combo on paper, but I’m not sure that a Gose needs another flavor going on. The beer style is already complex enough all on its own. In Victory’s Kirsch Gose, the cherries add a sweetness to the Gose that you wouldn’t expect, but instead of adding complexity, the cherry covers up the signature characteristics that make the style so enticing.
There’s a minor wave of salt on the lips after the sip is gone, but what I’m missing most is that tart punch to the taste buds. A traditional Gose is more tart than your rich uncle’s trophy wife. Victory’s version is kind of like a Shirley Temple wrestled with a Gose, and the Shirley Temple won.
I poured some for my wife and her only response was, “that’s sweet.” This isn’t exactly the response you expect when someone tries a Gose for the first time. I gave this same woman a sip of my Westbrook Gose once, and she was too puckered to talk.
Victory describes this beer as a “new twist on an old world German brewing process,” and I’m all for experimentation (insert obligatory college coed joke here) and blurring the lines of traditional beer genres. Get crazy. But I feel like this experimentation sacrificed some of the key characteristics of this particular style.
But maybe I’m being too much of a purist. And maybe Kirsch is the ideal gateway Gose. It’s a difficult style to get into. This could be the ticket for someone who’s Gose curious, but hesitant to go full Gose.
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
City: Downingtown, Penn.
Availability: Spring seasonal, 12-oz. bottles