Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blood Orange Gose - Are You Serious Anderson Valley Brewing?

Seems like brewing with blood oranges is a favorable new fad in the Maryland beer scene with at least Flying Dog Brewery (Bloodline Blood Orange IPA) and DuClaw Brewing Company (Hop Continuum No. 1 - Blood Orange Gypsy IPA) brewing an IPA version. I'm really digging this flavor profile, the subtle citrus tartness from the oranges provide a distinct difference to the heavier IBU side of the beer. I've also become interested in Gose styled beers after our recent #VABreweryChallenge visit to Manassas and  Badwolf Brewing Company. Gose styled beer originated in Germany (Goslar) and is an unfiltered wheat beer brewed with ground coriander seeds and salt. It receives its sourness through inoculation with lactic acid bacteria. The Badwolf version was both sweet and a tad sour with a noticeable salt concentration at the finish.

Today, I joyously discovered the Boonville, California's Anderson Valley Brewing Company Highway 128 Blood Orange Gose combining my two new beer obsessions.  The brewery's Highway 128 Series is a set of funky session beers with the Blood Orange Gose weighing in at a measly 4.2% ABV. The blood oranges are added during fermentation and according to Director of Brewing Operations Andy Hooper, the Gose part of the beer is a major challenge.
"Traditionally, this beer was made by allowing yeast and bacteria to ferment wort at the same time.  It was packaged unfiltered and still contained loads of yeast and bacteria.  Putting Lactobacillus bacteria into our cellar equipment and packaging lines would be a potentially huge problem and might contaminate other non-sour beers.  To solve this problem, the lactobacillus is added in the brewhouse – specifically in the kettle.  The bacteria are allowed to sour the wort and create the acidity needed for the tart flavor and funky aromas.  After the bacteria do their job, the wort is boiled and sterilized.  Now that all the bacteria are dead and gone, it’s safe for us to ferment, filter, and package the beer in the cellar without the risk of contaminating other beers.  After fermentation is complete, a small amount of sea salt is added to enhance the body and soften the edge of the sourness."
The Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose is more sour than the Badwolf (a plus for me), but less salt on the tail - which resides mostly on the tongue (another plus). The beer starts with an orange citrus aroma and the blood orange refuse to leave the stage until the final, final act. There's a little effervescence which provides a refreshing finale - along with the salty finish. Overall this is a great beer. Good enough to have a blog post devoted to it. Care for a music pairing? Easily the funky soul and blues of JJ Grey & Mofro. Cheers.

Update: Just had the Anderson Valley Holy Gose. Sour and refreshing. I also just tasted the Angry Chair Brewing Company Gose which was one of my favorites in our Florida Beer Tour. Michael Kaiser of WineAmerica recommends the Almanac Beer Co. Golden Gate Gose. 
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