My love for sour beers is well documented and when given a choice of styles more times than not I will grab something with a nice acidic kick to it. A delicate funky gueuze or a tart wood-aged saison are two of my favorite styles but when it comes to quick turnaround sours like gose or Berliner wiesse I tend to avoid the modern interpretations of the style for a couple of reasons. Too often I grab a pour of one of these styles only to find that the acidity is over the top and very sharp. It becomes a challenge to drink the beer and it covers up and subtle nuances the base beer could have had. Secondly, modern takes on the two styles often are brewed with so much fruit that it becomes a slushy nector with zero resemblance to the classic Berliner or gose styles. Not that I am an old stick in the mud when it comes to progression but I want to enjoy sipping a beer and not be slapped in the mouth fruit juice or acidity.
With that being said I have my hesitation with today’s review. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.’s Meersalz Raspberry is a “Gose style” beer with lactose, sea salt coriander and raspberries.
As I pour the beer it visually screams fruit puree. It pours a murky fuchsia with a very minimal head. The quarter inch of foam I got from pouring faded to still in moments. Once the head dissipated even a vigorous swirl of the glass would only bring a few bubbles that would disappear by the time the beer stopped swirling in the glass.
The aroma is a big juicy berries with a touch of salinity. There is a light tart-like quality on the nose that you get from sour beers and overall it smells intriguing.
My first taste of Meersalz Raspberry brings a blast of sweet juicy unfermented raspberries. Next the acidy comes in quickly and coats the corners of the mouth then cascades away leaving the juicy fruit and a slight brininess. The acid profile, while it arrives with a pop, is not overpowering or sharp. The fruit is aggressive but is fought back nicely by the acidity and the two superpowers battle it out throughout the sip. The salinity arrives in the finish leaving an interesting additional layer to the beer.