By Jared Dillon
Local Beer Expert
The lack of experimentation in German beer is an interesting issue. The Reinheitsgebot is a beer purity law that originated in 1487 because of concerns about impurities in German beer. The idea was to make all beer from higher quality ingredients. This would ultimately play out with the law stating that all beer brewed in Germany could only use water, barley and hops.
In today’s society, we know that one ingredient necessary to making all beer is missing from that list — yeast. At the time, scientists had not discovered that yeast existed. Wheat is another ingredient missing. Wheat is essential to the most popular style of German beer, the Hefeweizen.
The law is still in effect and while adjustments have been made to include wheat and yeast into the original text, it certainly has done damage to unique styles of beer that may have once been made in Germany.
For a long time, the Reinheitsgebot stifled creativity because beer could legally not be made with spices or wheat.
Eventually, as craft beer became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, unique beers from around the world were seen as exotic luxuries. Since that time we have seen an effort to reproduce beers that have been lost in the annals of time. One of these styles is called Gose.
Gose is an ale brewed with wheat, coriander and salt. Under the Reinheitsgebot, this would be illegal. The German law now allows brewing beers such as Gose and Berliner Weisse under the principle that they are a “regional specialty.”
Gose itself has historically been produced since the 16th century in Goslar, Germany. Today, Gose is very popular in Leipzig. At one time in the 1960s, only one brewery still brewed beer in the Gose style. A man named Lothar Goldhahn changed this in the 1980s by reproducing a seemingly extinct style.
While restoring the former tavern, Ohne Bedenken, he decided the original brew should be offered. He researched Gose and found an East Berlin brewery to produce it. The flavor of Gose is a complex combination of sour lemon, light herbs, wheat and salt.
Come try Gose and a variety of other unique German beers like Berliner Weisse (a sour wheat ale) and Rauchbier (a smoked doppelbock) with traditional German cuisines at Idyll Awhile Wine Shoppe on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. The price is $25 per person.
For more information, call 951-659-9463.