Gose and gueuze are beer brothers from another mother, so it’s not surprising that they often get conflated into one style, in part because the names are so close, and also because the flavor profiles—tart, sour, and crisp due to a profusion of wheat—are also closely aligned. But serious beer-lovers (especially those that gravitate toward sour beers) should understand the difference.
A gose (pronounced “goes-ah”) originated from Germany and has recently taken the craft beer scene by storm—and with good reason. This tart and tangy beer makes for the perfect warm-weather tipple. It drinks both bright and sour, with a heavy dose of tartness that’s complimented with salt and (traditionally) a touch of coriander. These days, the style lends itself to all variety of additional fruit ingredients, as was evidenced by Paste’s own blind-tasting round-up of 64 variations on this in-vogue style.
Gueuze (sometimes also spelled “geuze”) has a slightly murkier definition. The style originates from Belgium and that country’s long tradition in making lambics, and is typically spontaneously fermented. The final product consists of a blend of several different barrel-aged beers; at a minimum, it takes three years to produce a gueuze, while goses are fast-brewing and are seldom aged. The overall flavor profile of a good gueueze is also more complex than goses. Think, a mix of all the elements that a good barrel-aged beer delivers: layers of barnyard funk and woodiness, leather and horse blanket, all riding under a cresting wave of tart deliciousness. They also run with higher ABVs than goses, which typically clock in at around 4%, with a syrupy mouthfeel. In short, gueuzes are bold, while goses are bright.
Those curious about the gueuze can always try one of the Belgian originals like Oude Geuze Boon. But Deschutes’ new The Ages makes for a solid introduction to the style. Released earlier this year, this small-batch gueuze originates from a blending of multi-year ales that have been aged in oak barrels. The end product boasts a range of different malts (pilsner, two row, malted and unmalted wheat, flaked oats, and carapils) along with aged saaz and EKG hops to deliver a complex, layered drinking experience that’s bold and tart, with a thick mouth feel akin to the style (and different from a gose’s bubbly effervescence). It pours a hazy hay color, and is awash with fruity esters, spicy and tangy pear, pink grapefruit, Meyer lemons, and a modest spice that evokes white pepper. With an 8% ABV, it runs with the big boys, making 500ML bottle in which it was released the ideal volume for such a bold brew. It’s the latest in Deschutes’s Reserve Series lineup, and the first to get dropped into a smaller vessel. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
Location: Bend, Oregon