A Little Sour, A Little Salty—These Beers are Just Right for Spring Sipping
IPAs still reign supreme in beer popularity, but hop overload is definitely a real thing. If you’re looking for something lighter this spring, consider grabbing a gose. The German-style sour wheat beers feature a dash of salt and, in the hands of U.S. craft brewers, are often made with the addition of fresh fruit, perfect for sipping on warm afternoons during the season of bloom. And since most goses have relatively low alcohol content, you can have a few at a time without worry. Here are a handful of the best being made in Virginia and surrounding states.
Three Notch’d—a Virginia brewery with locations in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Richmond—makes a gose collection with fruit varieties including Watermelon, Pomegranate and Blood Orange. Our favorite is the Blackberry Gose, which is tart and refreshing, balancing saltiness with the sweetness of fresh fruit puree and Columbus hops. Look for it in cans around the Commonwealth.
Baltimore-based Union was one of the first regional craft breweries to make a reliably consistent gose. Old Pro, which gets released as the summer months approach, is a faithful take on the beer style’s western European roots, with citrus notes, subtle sourness, and just the right amount of salt providing a refreshing combination on warm days. At 4.2% ABV, it’s a light-bodied beer that’s a perfect post-lawnmowing thirst quencher.
Down in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Westbrook makes what many avid beer drinkers consider to be one of the best takes on the gose in the country. It’s another straight-ahead approach on the old-world style, and it’s executed superbly with the use of coriander and grey sea salt in the brewing process. For beating the heat down in the Low Country, it’s light and extremely drinkable at just 4% ABV.
Located in Virginia Beach, Commonwealth keeps cranking out some of the most creative beers in Virginia. Offerings are constantly in rotation, but the brewery almost always has a great gose in the mix. A recent favorite: Passionista is a smoothie-style gose made with passion fruit, mango, blood orange and chocolate sprinkles. It’s a sweet treat with a tropical vibe that will have you pining for your next island vacation.
Many of the aforementioned beers will take a little bit of effort to track down, but SeaQuench Ale is a great sour option that can be found on grocery store shelves everywhere. Dogfish Head’s version is a mash-up beer that mingles a gose with a Berliner Weiss, and the result is an extremely crushable “session sour ale” that’s brewed with black limes, sour lime juice and sea salt. For margarita fans, this beer will be a huge hit.