Calling a beer style “old beer” (literal translation of “Altbier”) may create some confusion. The words “old” and “beer” aren’t typically a good combination, however “old” does not refer to the age of the beer but rather the traditional brewing methods used for this style.

The final installment in this series continues with a look at modern methods for brewing gose. Two delectable modern interpretations of gose brewed in Saxony are described below as well.

I dislike the term “Ordinary” or “Standard” as it denotes a mediocrity that is undeserved by the best examples of the style, so I will refer to it simply as English Bitter in this article. Like with most beer styles, there is very little consensus about what makes an English Bitter but much more agreement about what it isn’t. As is usual, English Bitter is a fluid style (pun intended) and the definition will depend on whether we want to talk about what an English Bitter used to be or what it is now. English Bitter finds its home as a cask ale, there are many examples in other formats but cask is where it lives and breathes (more puns).

The final two installments in this series serve as a guide to the methods employed for producing gose over the many centuries of its existence. Though some of the details of its production have been lost to the mists of time or have gone to the grave with its secretive brewers, written records have preserved at least some of the ingredients and techniques used to brew gose at various points in its history. Two ingredients collectively unique to gose seem to have remained constant throughout the beer’s long existence: coriander and table salt.

Gose is brewed by craft breweries around the globe but has had relatively little impact on the brewing landscape in its country of origin. It emerged from the mists of Medieval Europe to become widely acclaimed across the Continent along with beers from other famous brewing cities like Hamburg and Einbeck, since Goslar – the original home of gose – belonged to the vast trade network of the Hanseatic League.

Farmhouse Ales is the term that has come to define modern interpretations of two distinct beer styles, Saison and Bière de Garde. The term “Farmhouse Ale” is not without controversy. Contemporary breweries located in both rural and urban environments produce and market credible “Farmhouse Ales”. The term may be disputable but it has become firmly entrenched in the modern brewer’s lexicon.

Tremendously popular over many centuries, this beer was invented in the city of Goslar a millennium ago and was subsequently portrayed by writer Wilhelm Blumenhagen, who traveled the region in the early 19th century, as the “Freudenwein der Harzer” (“wine of the Harz mountain folk that brings joy”). It would be difficult to find a more glowing endorsement than that. Blumenhagen described this gose as cloudy and yellow like beeswax with a thick head of foam.

So, dear reader, you may already be asking yourself the following: Is it Scottish ale or Scotch ale? What’s the difference? Good question …

Kölsch (literally meaning “from Cologne”) is one of the few beer styles in the world that is legally defined. The Cologne brewers association outlines in the “Kölsch-Konvention” that Kölsch is a pale, highly attenuated, hop forward, bright ale that is brewed according to the German purity law within the city limits of Cologne. On top of that, Kölsch is recognized by the European Union as a regional specialty with a protected geographic origin. So, no European breweries outside of the Cologne area can market their beer as “Kölsch”.

The world has rarely seen artists, poets and thinkers (and in some cases drinkers) of the caliber of Goethe, Schiller, Bach and Luther, all of whom at one time lived and worked in and around the German state of Saxony. It must have something to do with the local water – or perhaps the beer. The enigmatic beer style known as gose (pronounced “goes-uh”) is associated with Leipzig, though it did not originate there, and has experienced a relatively sudden spate of popularity in the craft beer world, but imitations pale in comparison to the beguiling brew found in Saxony. Oddly, gose is more famous abroad than at home.

One of the quintessential group of beer styles hailing from Germany, Bock Beers are the higher gravity versions of the Bavarian Helles and Munich Dunkel styles. The name – which in German means (male) goat – is most likely derived from the city of Einbeck and not from the fact that one feels like being hit by a goat after consuming one too many bock beers.

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