There’s nothing worse than being at a prestigious beer festival, filled with wonders, and later hearing that you missed out on a great beer that you never knew was there.
That’s what happened to me with more than a few beers at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival back in May. Trust me—with an event that size, and given the number of beers from incredible breweries involved, things slip through the cracks.
This became obvious to me when I assembled our list of 10 memorable beers from the festival, equally compiled by myself and L.A.-based Paste beer writer John Verive. In picking some of our favorite offerings, we essentially came up with completely different lists. And most of the things he listed, I hadn’t even had a chance to try. So I knew that I must have missed some excellent beers. Odell’s Brombeere is one of those, but now I’ve corrected my error.
Brombeere is a gose, riding the wave of what certainly must have been 2014’s “style of the year” in craft beer. Still, despite their current ubiquity, I don’t think I’ve yet seen a blackberry gose, so that particular twist on the style is still a new experience.
On the nose, one can’t miss a distinctly spicy note—this gose shows off the coriander addition classically found in the style more than most of the American-made goses do. There’s some jammy blackberry character as well, but it’s not quite as big as you might expect from an American fruited sour. As a whole, there’s a deft balance between briny seawater, fruity notes and the spice, but the single most dominant aromatic aspect is the coriander.
On the palate, Brombeere brings light graininess and doughy bread flavors all the way through. It’s quite dry, with the blackberry as a supporting player rather than the big star—it just sort of pops up suddenly mid-palate, is present with a nice, genuine berry flavor for a moment and then is whisked away by the drying finish. Tartness is moderate, right in the middle of the bell curve for the style, certainly nowhere in the puckering ballpark of say, Westbrook. The salinity is also fairly low, but you’ll notice it when you lick your lips afterward.
All in all, the aspect that stands out in Brombeere is balance. It’s an easy drinking, approachable gose that avoids using fruit flavors to create a syrupy mess, and rather delivers a solid, fairly standard American-style gose supported by a unique little twist of berry flavors that are themselves quite restrained as far as fruits in American sours are typically concerned. It’s dry enough to be refreshing, and would probably be useful in changing the mind of someone who thinks that “fruit” invariably would mean “sweet.”
Brewery: Odell Brewing Co.
City: Fort Collins, CO
Availability: Through September, 12 oz bottles
Jim Vorel is Paste’s news editor, and he’s enjoying the summer gose season. You can follow him on Twitter.