Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Now that Oktoberfest is over, pumpkin beer is in full swing but I have found myself on a sour beer kick these last several weeks. It started when I visited one of my favorite breweries last month and has just snowballed, leading to the purchase of Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones-inspired Hand of The Queen sour blonde ale – which I’m saving for an upcoming special occasion – as well as Avery Brewing Company’s El Gose, which just so happens to be the choice for this Thirsty Thursday.
Based out of Boulder, Colorado, Avery was founded in 1993 by Adam Avery and used a seven barrel tank to ferment its beer. Now, Avery is one of the heavy hitters in the beer world, ranked No. 50 in the largest breweries by volume last year, though a recent expansion at the brewery should increase those numbers considerably in the not too distant future. And, as of 2017 when Avery announced 30% of the company had been purchased by Mahou-San Miguel, it’s no longer considered a craft brewery.
El Gose is a German-style sour ale that features lime and sea salt. It’s 4.5% alcohol by volume and described by the brewery as “sour, sessionable and citrusy.” Concocted using three different malt varieties – Acidulated, Wheat and Two-Row – along with Sterling hops and London Ale yeast, it’s not so much driven by hops but more focused on being a yeast-centric beer. I have seen this beer everywhere, both at stores and popping up on my social media feeds and I figured it was about time, while on my sour kick, to give it a try.
I’ll be honest here, while I was familiar with Avery, I think I’ve had just one of their beers in the past. One of the things that drew me to this specific six-pack of cans was the design, featuring a white can with a greenish sugar skull emblazoned on it. This time of year, how can you go wrong choosing a sugar skull? The can gives a very quick summary of what you’re about to drink, stating that it’s “brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, limes sea salt, hops and yeast.” It also says “¡Salud, Cheers, Prost!” That’s the perfect segue for popping this bad boy opening and giving it a sip.
Once it was cracked, I got a very faint smell of citrus and lime. El Gose poured pretty well, with a somewhat hazy yellow color and white head that didn’t last too long – what you want from a gose. Avery did a good job with the taste of this beer, blending the citrusy flavor and the sour nicely, with a lingering taste of tart and maybe even just a hint of lime. I know the salt is in there somewhere, but I just cannot put my finger on it. El Gose is very drinkable, which is what you want from a low alcohol sour. I think after two I would probably have to switch to a different beer, however, since I think I’d get tired of it.
I thought it was slightly on the expensive side, at least compared to other local efforts, at $13 but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad value for the price. It’s a tasty sour that is good if you’re craving something just a little bit different. Overall, I would score this beer 7.4 out of 10, as compared to the BeerAdvocate average rating which is 3.61. I would definitely buy it again, however not until I tried many of its counterparts. Having said that, it’s the perfect beer to test out a sour and see if you like it, since it’s tame enough for the casual drinker.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.