Stillwater Artisanal Ales was founded in 2010 by Brian Strumke, a former techno DJ and producer who went by the name Brian Stillwater. Strumke started out as a home brewer who won various competitions, usually in lesser known categories using beers that incorporated different herbs, spices and wild yeasts. In 2010, he released Stateside Saison, a 6.8 percent ABV saison, and so began Stillwater Artisan Ales.

Stillwater is a gypsy brewery, meaning that it does not have a brewery of its own, and as a result all of its beers are brewed at other breweries.1 Typically, they are small—sometimes microscopic—releases, as was the case with Requisite, one of Strumke’s stouts that was available for a single night at a single bar. However, one of the major advantages to this model is that gypsy brewers can more easily experiment with different beers without the need for them to sell in any large amounts.2

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Westbrook Brewing Gose Gone Wild Bottle

In early 2014, Strumke approached South Carolina-based Westbrook Brewing Co. with the idea to do a collaboration using one of Westbrook’s most well-known beers, Gose3, which is a traditional German-style sour wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. Using Gose as the base, Strumke added Citra and Amarillo hops, then fermented it using various strains of brettanomyces4 to produce a different take on the well-known brew. The finished beer has an ABV of 4.6 percent and was sold in 22-ounce bottles.

Gose Gone Wild was a release in Stillwater’s Remix series, a group of beers that involve Stillwater taking a well-known beer and enhancing it by adding ingredients to change the base beer while still retaining the characteristics that make it what it is. Those same breweries then turn around and do the same thing to one of Stillwater’s beers, thus completing the circle.

Strumke explained his Remix series further in an interview with DCBeer.com:

It was another idea of mine that was derived from my days as a musician. I did many remixes of other artists’ material that were then released into the market. The idea of taking the core idea or theme of an artist’s work and deconstructing/reconstructing it to possess attributes that are defining of the ‘remixing’ artist’s aesthetic always intrigued me as you could at times deliver ideas and concepts to an audience that may not necessarily indulge in the original (or vice versa).
This seemed like the ultimate collaboration idea for me, and with the true concept of the project in mind I do my best to choose beers that stylistically are far removed from the work I do as Stillwater. This way there is an obvious difference be be had with the remix, and a completely new product is formed while still maintaining elements of the originating beer (or else it would be a ‘clone’ project and not a remix).

So far, there have been a total of six different Remix releases:

  • Ominipollo Premium (with Stillwater) — American blonde ale — Seven percent ABV
  • Stillwater Nebuchadnezzar (with Omnipollo) — saison — Six percent ABV
  • Westbrook Big Tasty’s Back Door (with Stillwater) — saison — 6.5 percent ABV
  • Stillwater Gose Gone Wild (with Westbrook) — gose — 4.6 percent ABV
  • Evil Twin Classique Imperiale (with Stillwater) —saison — Six percent ABV
  • Stillwater Even Less Jesus (with Evil Twin) — American imperial stout — 12 percent ABV

The Gose Gone Wild pours a hazy golden straw color, with a massive white, fluffy head that takes a while to dissipate. Aroma from the glass is a combination of strong lemongrass, coriander, wheat, grapefruit and funk.

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Westbrook Brewing Gose Gone Wild

From the first sip, there is a explosion of extremely powerful lemon and salt notes—both on the lips and on the palate—that instantly makes my mouth salivate in response. The profile is more tart than the regular Gose is, but still has a ways to go to get to what I consider sour. There is a great yeasty note that reminded me quite a bit of sourdough bread5 at times and is strongest on the finish, combining well with the lemon that is present. The hops in the brew are noticeable in the profile, and I get an interesting brine flavor every once in a while as well. Carbonation level is high, and sticks around for quite a while after being opened, adding to the mouthfeel that was pretty great to begin with.

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Stillwater/Westbrook Brewing Gose Gone Wild
BREWERY: Westbrook Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Mount Pleasant, S.C.
STYLE: Gose
ABV: 4.3 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $10.99
RELEASE DATE: May 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
I have partaken in quite a few Westbrook Gose over the years, and before drinking this, was honestly doubting if that beer could be made any better. Well, I was wrong. With the addition of hops and Brettanomyces, the Gose Gone Wild takes everything that is great about the base beer — salty lemon, funky yeast and coriander — and bumps up both the complexity of the flavors and the distinctness that they have on the palate. An excellent example of how an experiment can go very, very right.
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