Sunday, 11 May 2014

Opa's Gose

Yet another interesting offering from Vankleek Hill, Ontario's Beau's All Natural Brewing Company, Opa's Gose is a part of the Wild Oats Series (No. 5). It contains 5% alcohol. Opa's' 600mL bottle comes with a small pouch of sea salt to be added to the brew to suit the drinker's taste. As a dutiful beer reviewer, I felt obliged to taste it first without any additional salt, and then again after mixing in a healthy dose.

It's a hazy, orange-gold concoction topped with a loose, bubbly, white head. The aroma has a salty brine to it, as well as a tart fruitiness reminiscent of sour cherries. According to the insert that accompanied the salt, Opa's is brewed with sea salt and coriander. It's a wheat beer and spiced beer combo.

Sans sel: Milder and less salty than suggested by the nose. The wheaty character comes out quite a bit, and there is a slight metallic spice. The aftertaste is faintly bitter and very dry.

Avec sel: This beer came with a 4g sack of sea salt. Seldom one to half-ass anything beer, I added the lot. Turns out I should probably have added it gradually--throwing in the whole bag caused a veritable eruption of white foam to flood over the top of my pint glass. Once the chemical reaction began to subside, I gave the mixture a stir and dove in. I found that the aroma was not much changed by the addition of the extra salt, though it was perhaps a touch more saline. The flavour, however, was hugely transformed. Sea salt went from being a faint additive to the headliner. This beer is briny! There is still a whisper of fruity tartness and a soupcon of dry bitterness, but salt clearly rules the day. Accordingly, this beer is not even remotely thirst-quenching.  What it is, though, is distinctive.

I've tried gose before, but never anything nearly this salty. It's not disagreeable, as drinking a pint of sea water would be. Instead, it's very flavourful, but ultimately too salty for me. Truth be told, though I enjoyed the stuff, I was glad to see the bottom of my glass. I'm glad that I tried Opa's, but it'll be a while before I try it again. Next time, maybe I'll limit the additional salt to 2g or so. I think I liked it better before I added dumped in all the salt.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

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