On my last and final night in Leipzig, Germany, I decided to revisit a the beer that I just had to post about earlier in the week: Gose. Here however, I went to the actually brewery from which the original Gose beer was brewed (and is still brewed to this day). Namely, the Bayerischer Bahnhof. As the name implies, the brewery is in a train station. Well, to be exact, the brewery is in what used to be a train station that served as the departure point from the city of Leipzig to destinations in the south of Germany. However, in the early 2000s, the station was closed. The legacy though lives on as the station has been restored to its original glory and still houses Bayerischer Bahnhof. According to the menu, the station will be revived as part of the city’s underground train project in 2013.
Just because your train into or out of Leipzig does not bring you through the Bahnhof these days (and if you come in via plane to Leipzig, your entry will be even farther from the brewery), that does not mean that you need not pay Bayerischer Bahnhof a visit. Not only is the beer fantastic (and diverse), the food is some of the best that you will find on a budget in the city.
Bayerischer Bahnhof is located just outside of the inner city ring road (about a 15 minute walk from the main square in Leipzig) at Bayrischer Platz 1. From the Martin-Luther-Ring road, head down either Wilhelm-Leuschner-Platz or Grunewaldstrasse to Windmuhlenstrasse and head east for about 2 blocks. You will see the train station and its large gateway on the right. You cannot miss it.
So, what makes the Gose so special? Well, for one, as I mentioned in an earlier post, there are only about 4 breweries in the world brewing the beer today. This is quite interesting considering that there are references to the beer going back to at least the year 1332. With now nearly 700 years of Gose brewing in the books, it may be quite surprising that there are so few breweries crafting this thirst quenching beer today.
One of the reasons for its lacking appearance in the states is likely due to what I am going to refer to as the “American Beer Palette”. I think it is safe to say that most beer drinkers tend to choose the large, mass-produced beers that real beer drinkers will refuse to even touch (e.g., Bud, Coors, etc.). These beers lack a lot of taste, character, and boldness and thus are likable by many without having to acquire a taste for the beer. On the other hand, you have your real beer drinkers that are always looking for the next IPA or the new barrel-aged imperial stout to be released from the local craft brewery. While these beer drinkers have a more sophisticated palette, for the most part, they will steer away from beers outside of their comfort zone. Then, you finally have the extravagant beer drinkers that are willing to try just about anything that is fermented and put in a bottle (well, maybe not everything, but you get the picture). These are the folks that will be willing to go out on a limb and drink something that is sour (since, after all, most beers tend to be sweet or bitter). Since these beer drinkers are by far in the minority, the market for such sour beers in the states is quite small. In fact, the global market for sour beers is not much larger.
With that said, if you can get your hands on a Gose in the states (whether it was brewed in Germany or not), you should at least give it a try. It is a beer that will most certainly quench your thirst as a result of its crisp, clean mouth feel and the subtle saltiness (yes, this will actually eventually make you thirsty again, but at least it temporarily quenches your thirst). The beer is often brewed with coriander as well to give it just a touch of spice. It is really a shame that a brewery in the states does not take a chance on brewing a Gose of their own, at least as a seasonal beer. It would be fantastic to enjoy a Gose or two on the poor on a mild spring or fall day.
Another nice thing about Gose is that it pairs well with a lot of German specialties. I decided to pair the Gose with the baked camembert cheese and the spatzle at Bayerischer Bahnhof. The camembert is lightly breaded and baked in the oven and comes with a side of jam and some sliced pears. The crisp, sweet pears go very well with the cheese and brings out the crispness of the Gose. On the other hand, there are few things more German that spatzle (German egg noodles) and when combined with aromatic cheeses and topped with some sautéed onions and pears, it really helps accentuate the aromas of the beer and again bring out the crisp, clean mouth feel of the Gose. I have included some pictures below, but I must apologize for the poor quality since I was forced to take them with a phone.
So, the moral of the story is don’t be shy if you see a Gose in the near future. It will be different, but it is worth giving a try. If you feel as if the beer is too sour for your liking, do as the Germans do and add some syrup, woodruff and raspberry syrups are two of the most common (you could even make a Gose Radler by adding lemonade or some places will even mix in a banana syrup or cherry liquor).