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Since Sam Adams launched its Single Batch Series last year, it's been a bit of a mad scientist's lab for craft beer crossbreeds, producing one-off creations like blonde barleywine, Baltic IPA, and rauch bock. They grabbed our attention with their latest releases in the series by dusting off a couple of seriously old and almost-forgotten styles: Gose and Sahti. Sam Adams isn't the only brewery to produce modern versions of these obscure ales, but they're certainly the largest.
Gose is a style of unfiltered wheat beer accented with salt and coriander that originated in Germany. Verloren (6.0% ABV), which is German for "lost," is cloudy gold with a fluffy white head. Its aroma is pungent in the glass with coriander, stone fruit and floral esters, and plenty of wheat. The first sip tricked us, feigning the tartness found in other Goses. With subsequent tastes we decided it was actually a combination of the salt and peach and apricot flavors rather than a lactic character. Don't let the salt scare you off, it really makes the fruit pop. Think of Gose as Wit's eccentric cousin.
Verloren is a soft, light-bodied, and very refreshing hot weather beer. It finishes dry and relatively clean, with just a little lingering wheat. It would be great with fish, a simple salad with vinaigrette, or, if you want to be the one to bring the geeky beer to the picnic, the bright fruit and salt would pair great with barbecue. We'll be picking up more of this if it's around this summer.
Norse Legend (7.0% ABV) is the brewery's take on the rustic Finnish Sahti, the juniper-spiked beer of Vikings. It pours a dark, reddish amber with a fleeting head. The juniper berries Norse Legend was brewed with and aged on are front and center in every aspect. Like a bottled evergreen forest, there's earth, wood, and sap. It starts spicy and herbaceous and goes all the way through. The full-bodied sticky malt beneath, slightly sweet and bready with dark caramel, is similar to that of a Scotch ale with a spicy rye kick. Pair this with salmon or something with the earthiness to match.
Have you tried these beers, or others from the Sam Adams Single Batch series?