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Classic Beer of the Month September 2015: Bayerischer Bahnhof Original Leipziger Gose

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Bayerischer Bahnhof Original Leipziger Gose, 4.5%

One of the many exciting things about the current beer scene is the way in which beers long-forgotten, or even extinct, are being brought back to life.

Bayerischer Bahnhof GoseThese may be ales from breweries closed decades ago or even, as in the case of a beer from the eastern side of Germany, a beer style that has completely fallen out of production.

In 2000, Thomas Schneider opened a multi-roomed bar, restaurant and brewery in Leipzig, called Bayerischer Bahnhof (Bavarian Station). It is housed in the impressively-refurbished ticketing hall and offices of a very grand and once-important rail terminus.

Apart from restoring a neglected part of the city's history, part of Thomas's plan was to recreate a beer style that had not been seen for many years and make it a feature of the establishment.

The style was gose. This was a type of wheat beer, similar in some respects to both the Berliner weisse and the Belgian wit. Its complicated brewing regime allowed lactic acid to sour the beer, which was then flavoured with coriander and, distinctively, a dosing of salt.

Regional Speciality

The beer was a speciality of the region around Leipzig and took its name from the town of Goslar. But, as breweries closed one after another during the Communist years of the German Democratic Republic, gose was lost.

Under the aegis of brewer Matthias Richter since 2002, Bayerischer Bahnhof's beer has flourished, sparking copies from other breweries around the world. Earlier this year, for instance, St Austell produced a version called Steady as She Gose.

Bayerischer Bahnhof's beer is made with a mash comprised of 50% pale barley malt and 50% wheat malt. The hops employed are Northern Brewer from a small, hop-growing area near Leipzig, but they are not dominant in this beer.

The emphasis, rather, is on the sourness and the flavourings that mitigate it. To create the sourness, lactic acid that the brewery has produced beforehand is added during the brewing process, prior to fermentation. The exact details of how this takes place remain a secret, as does the way in which the coriander and sea salt are added.

The aim is to introduce only enough salt so that it sits just below the human taste threshold, but, even if the taste is not too obvious, the sensation of saltiness is certainly apparent when you sample the beer.

If you're wondering how the addition of coriander and salt gets around the strictures of the Reinheitsgebot – the German beer purity law – it's because the style of beer actually predates the implementation of that rule.

Gose, certainly from this example, is a very refreshing drink. It pours a hazy golden colour and is very easy to quaff. Sweetness just has the lead in the taste, but there's also a light sourness from the acidity and a softly peppery, orange note from the coriander. At the brew pub itself, it can be drunk, like Berliner weisse in Berlin, with shots of syrup.

Bayerischer Bahnhof's interpretation of gose may be relatively new but the style is very definitely a classic.





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