Plenty of people have called 2014 the year of the gose. The once-obscure German sour beer style has staged a huge comeback in recent years, thanks in no small part to Anderson Valley’s canned versions (one of which made our 25 Best Beers of 2014 list). Low in alcohol, lightly tart and salty, gose became this summer’s hottest style you’d never heard of before. While gose still is forgotten in its birthplace, Leipzig, it seemed to be pretty much everywhere else this year.
Naturally, it’s now time for the gose riffs. We didn’t bat an eye at the flavored versions—hibiscus, blueberry, blood orange—but an imperial gose? The style’s defining characteristics are its relatively low alcohol content (usually around 4% ABV), delicate tartness and nearly imperceptible salt. So what happens when Hoppin’ Frog turns up the dial on its imperial gose, King Gose Home?
“I like to make beers that are very bold, and there’s no difference with this beer,” says Hoppin’ Frog owner and brewmaster Fred Karm. “With mine, you get more of everything. More salt, more coriander. That’s just the way Hoppin’ Frog brews in general.”
At 6% ABV, King Gose Home isn’t a booze bomb by any means, but it might surprise traditionalists used to a softer sip. A buttery, lemon-laced nose is the first sign this gose will be more aggressive than a traditional version. Salt is pronounced but not overwhelming; it helps highlight the malt and flaked oat sweetness.
“People used to put salt in beers more often when I was younger to cut the beers’ bitterness,” says Karm. “And it’s a flavor enhancer in general.”
The beer’s characteristic salinity also inspired its name, King Gose Home.
“It has salty and sour properties, and I said ‘Hey, that’s the way the people who watch and love LeBron feel now that he’s back [in Ohio].’ It took me one minute to come up with the name,” says Karm.
As of now, there’s no word on how Miami fans have reacted to the beer’s release.