I don’t think I’ve ever heard of marionberries. I’ve never eaten/drank hibiscus flowers. I’ve never had a gose-style beer (pronounced gose-uh). Thanks to Widmer Brothers’ Marionberry Hibiscus Gose, these are now off my beer bucket list.
(If you’re curious about the history of Gose, which is pretty cool, I recommend checking out this article from Imbibe Magazine. It goes into great details – why it’s made with salt and why World War II almost made it extinct.)
This beer recently arrived at my local shop and given my inexperience and curiosity … why the hell not? It’s got an 80 on Beer Advocate.
Widmer’s gose would be a great dessert beer, or at least paired with something for dessert. Chocolate would be solid, as would fruit, naturally. I wonder, however, how does the red hue of the beer impact how I’m judging it? When I see the red and smell something sweet – like berries – I imagine my perception of the beer and all the aromas and flavors that come with it might be “tainted” because of what I imagine or want it to be like. All that said, it was still a fine beer.
The gose smelled and tasted a bit tart, like a not-yet ripened fruit, although not quite sour to me. The Widmer Brothers’ description suggests the hibiscus flowers are responsible for that. Mixed in with that was some sweetness that made me think of honey.
But it’s the taste that really makes this beer stand out. Not in the fact there are so many flavors you’d never know where to begin, but how given the simplicity of taste – smooth, dry, a little funk and leaves with some carbonation on the tongue – I’m surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. There was no truly noticeable tart or sour taste, again perhaps my nose and eyes playing a trick on me in spite of the fact I wanted there to be some sourness. Is it a case that the fruit flavors are just watered down? If I smell it, maybe the marionberries were used in secondary fermentation for a short period of time. If left in the beer long enough, I feel that the berry flavor would’ve been more pronounced, but is still “just” right for this brew. That’s why these guys are pros.
All said, I’m not going to rush out to buy this beer again, but it’s novel enough to make me appreciate what was done with it and how it was made.
Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.