This post was contributed by Certified Cicerone, Lindsay Bohanske.
One of the best things about working in the Allagash tasting room is simply talking to people about beer. And while talking about Coolship Resurgam (our interpretation of a Lambic-style gueuze) I’ve noticed many furrowed brows. That’s how this blog post was born.
There are two beers out there that sound sort of similar, but are actually extremely different: gose and gueuze (you’ll also see it spelled geuze). To further confuse the issue, both beers fall in the wildly varied category of “sour” beers and they both contain a pretty high portion of wheat. That’s about where the similarities end.
What’s a Gose?
A gose, pronounced “goes-ah” is a historically German, refreshing wheat beer that is only slightly tart. Goses are also traditionally brewed with coriander and salt. The original style was probably crafted over a thousand years ago. In recent years, modern American craft breweries have dabbled in this historical style with great success. In fact, some breweries from Maine have made their own take on the style, like Rising Tide’s Pisces.
What’s a Gueuze?
Gueuze lambic beers, on the other hand, are not nearly as easy to describe. A gueuze—pronounced “gooz”—is a type of spontaneously fermented Lambic beer which is a blend of several different years of barrel-aged beer. This means that, at minimum, these beers take three years to make. Another key difference couched in that last sentence is that gueuzes spend their entire life in oak barrels, whereas goses aren’t traditionally made with the use of barrels. When blended and ready, gueuzes are an extremely complex, tart flavor-bomb of beer goodness. The Beer Judge Certification Program describes the flavors as a “wide range of wild barnyard, horse blanket, or leather characteristics intermingling with citrusy-fruity flavors and acidity.”
Coolship Resurgam is Allagash’s interpretation of a Belgian gueuze. Although we do not call the beers in the Coolship program “Lambic” or even “Lambic-style,” the process by which we make our Coolship beers springs directly from the lambic tradition. We’ve spoken much about that process in our recent Coolship blog posts. Traditional Lambic beers can only be produced in and around Brussels, Belgium.
Key Differences Between Gueuze and Gose
- A gose can be made relatively quickly, where gueuzes take a long time.
- A gueuze is truly spontaneously fermented vs. gose, which is intentionally inoculated with an ale yeast and some form of Lactobacillus bacteria.
- A gose is traditionally brewed with coriander and salt. Not so with gueuze, which does not have any spices added.
- A gueuze is aged in barrels. A gose is not.
- A gueuze is wonderfully funky and tart where a gose has a much more subtle acidity.