New Belgium 3 Floyds Lips of Faith Grätzer Ale

New_Belgium_Three_Floyds_GratzerBrewer: New Belgium, Fort Collins CO/3 Floyds, Munster IN
Style: Gratzer (Smoked Wheat Ale)
Alc/Vol: 4.5%

Description: A collaboration between the New Belgium Brewery of Colorado and 3 Floyds of Indiana, this seasonally-appropriate, Halloween-themed ale resurrects the age-old Polish style of smoked wheat ale that has nearly gone extinct. The brew is fashioned using oak-smoked wheat and Midnight Wheat, which is then fermented using a wild strain of top fermenting yeast that gives it a slightly sour flavor.

Tasting Notes: Another interesting sour from the Lips of Faith series (and of course their friends at 3 Floyds), this beer is also a style that I was previously unfamiliar with. And though the flavor was a bit unusual and took some getting used to, I ultimately enjoyed its particular strengths. Like a stout, it starts with dark, roasted malts and notes of coffee. Like a Rauchbier, it has that smokey aged-whiskey flavor with a peaty finish. And like a wheat, it has a clean, refreshing profile that buoys up the middle. I was also impressed with the effort made by these two breweries. Much like Driftwood’s recent experiments with the Leipzig-style of Gose, this beer is an example of the power of craft brewing to bring old and venerated styles back from the brink.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt nose, hint of smoke, espresso, stout-like
Taste: Toasted malt, tang, clean, giving way to smoky flavor, notes of peat
Aftertaste: Lingering peat flavor, smoke and malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

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Driftwood Gose-Uh

driftwood_logoBack again with another limited release from the Driftwood Brewery. And this time around, its the late summer seasonal known as the Driftwood Gose-uh. According to the commercial description, Gose (pronounced gose-uh) is a rare type of German beer that originated in Leipzig. Using both wheat and barely malt, sea salt, coriander spice and the same type of yeast strain that gives sours their tart taste, this beer has apparently gone extinct twice, but is once again being brought back by artisan brewers who want to revitalize it.

driftwood_gose-uhAnd after sampling it, I could certainly see why efforts are underway to restore it. Much like a good Belgian Wit, the Gose is light in color, cloudy in appearance, and has a gentle malt profile and a some nice spicey notes due to the addition of coriander spice. But the Gose manages to augment all that with a little saltiness and a smooth, clean finish that has just a hint of sour flavor. All in all, it’s basically a nice light ale with some added complexity that is well paired with spicey food, or just on its own as a way to beat the soon-to-gone summer heat. Personally, I hope the style catches on again and remains popular amongst the artisan brewing community and beer drinkers alike. I don’t imagine I need to tell anyone that a beer going extinct diminishes us all!

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malts and traces of yeast, strong notes of coriander spice
Taste: Good concentration of wheat malt, coriander spice, mild saltiness
Aftertaste: Lingering spice flavor, slight notes of sour, quite clean
Overall: 8.5/10

What’s next for the Driftwood Brewery and its seasonal/limited-release lineup? Well, multiple visits to the brewery to get my growlers filled has yielded some insight there. Though there are no plans as of yet to release another in the Bird of Prey series, the brewery does have an anniversary coming up and promises to greet it with a specialty beer of some kind. I’ll let you know more as I hear about it!