It’s been fun running this blog for the past 2 ½ years. I’ve learned a lot about beer and about different styles of beer. I also seem to have got a bit of attention from folks as I’ve had people send me beer to try. I’m happy to try beer that people wish to send and I’ll write my honest thoughts about it. So, I had the opportunity to try out Granville Island’s Small Batch Gose the other day.
*Writer’s Note: I did receive this beer review free of charge. This did not influence my write-up. *
Granville Island was founded in 1984 by Mitch Taylor. Long-time brewmaster Vern Lambourne joined the brewery in 2002. In 2005, Andrew Peller Wines purchased the brewery from Taylor and renovated the facility beneath Granville Bridge and expanded it into a new larger facility located in Kelowna. In 2009, Molson Coors Canada purchased Granville Island Brewing through its subsidiary, Creemore Springs.
Brewmaster Vern Lambroune stayed with the company until 2015 which led to the hiring of new brewmaster Kevin Emms. Despite the acquisition by Molson Coors, they could keep the original brewery operating on Granville island. This is the facility that develops and produces the small-batch beers which the primary brewing is done at Molson’s Burrard Street plant. What is interesting about this type of setup is that the small-batch brewery has more independence to produce some interesting styles of beers that may not be produced on a large scale.
What I do really like about the brewery is their initiatives towards sustainability and the environment. They are BC’s first Bullfrog Powered brewery and use clean green electricity. They are also part of the Canadian bottle pool which means that their 341 ml bottles are re-used up to 13 times. They also donate their spent grains to farms for animal feed and participate in the Granville Island zero waste initiative.
I’ve learned quite a lot about beer while running this blog and my favorite style to drink and brew is the Gose. While I’m certainly no expert, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on what this style is and how to brew it. I was lucky enough to win a silver a medal for my Strawberry Margarita Gose from the Pro/Am competition here in Winnipeg. So, I love the style and am excited to see more of them being made.
A Gose (GOH-zeh) is a highly carbonated, tart and fruity wheat ale that also has subtle coriander and just a pinch of salt that should come across just at the finish. This style originated in the town of Goslar in the middle-ages. In fact, the name of the beer comes from the Gose river which runs through the town of Goslar. The water from this river had a huge impact on the flavour of the beer and so it’s no surprising it has held this name for so long. This area was known for mining and one of the most abundant minerals present was salt. Some of this salt dissolved into the local groundwater which was used during the brewing of their local beer. Since they didn’t have water softeners or bottled water, they just used what they had and made it work.
After centuries of dominating the beer market in Goslar, the popularity of the style fell. Luckily it was picked up by the German town of Leipzig where it is documented to have been brewed since the 1740s. By chance, the town of Leipzig fell outside of Bavaria where the Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity laws) initially came into effect. Once Germany unified, there were some hoops to jump through, but special considerations were made for this style of beer given its history.
Up until recently, it’s been very hard to find this style of beer. While it started to see a resurgence in the 1980s, it hasn’t been widely available and many people didn’t even know what it was. This is the reason I started brewing it myself, so I could consistently get a good Gose.
Lucky for me and other Gose fans, many breweries seem to be reviving this style. Barn Hammer, Torque and Peg Beer have all brewed Goses recently and we’ve seen breweries from outside Manitoba, Granville included, pick up on the style.
I love this style of beer and the variations that you can play around with. Like a Berliner Weisse, you could even mix a syrup into a straight up Gose, or play on the chracteristics like I did with my Margarita Gose. So, let’s get to this beer.
ABV – 5%
Appearance – Pours a cloudy straw yellow with a nice foamy head that retains well.
Smell – Subtle peach aroma as well as sour, salty notes on the nose.
Taste – Immediate subtle peach sweetness followed by a nice subtle pucker of tartness and a hint of salt on the finish.
Mouth Feel – Light body, high carbonation, nice tart finish with a touch of salt.
Overall Thoughts – Hits on all the points I’d expect to see from a Gose. The sourness was there, likely using lactobacillus, with just a wisp of salt on the finish.
Do I like it? – I did enjoy this beer. I felt that it was a good example of a Gose and hit on all the key aspects I like to see in my Goses. The beer has a nice sweetness on front from the peaches that doesn’t mask or take away from any of the other components of this beer.
I hope that this write-up was informative. I encourage you to get out and try as many new beers as you can. Broaden your horizons and your palate.
Keep following along as I keeping doing what I can to write about beer, breweries and brewers.