The worlds of wine and beer can often feel very different to one another. Beer often tries to grasp at the concept of terroir, French for “of the earth,” referring to the effect that location and climate has on a wine's eventual character. This is a much more difficult concept to express within beer, especially if your hops are imported from the US, your barley from Germany and your yeast cultured in a lab in Copenhagen.
Terroir does exist in beer, but you’re far more likely to find it in, say, the spontaneously fermented lambics of Belgium – which are fermented by harvesting wild yeast from the air surrounding the beer – than the latest IPA.
Taking this concept further, if a brewer decides to add grapes (or must, the pressed juice that is the winemaker's equivalent to a brewer's wort) to beer, by reason this adds another dimension that further reduces its sense of place. Does that matter if it makes a beer taste great? Of course not. Terroir is a fun, and often romantic thing to think about in terms of alcoholic beverages, but it is not fundamental to our enjoyment of great beer.
Both wine grapes and wine barrels effect beer in very positive ways. Barrels not only imbue beer with woody, tannic flavours – along with a wine-like character – but also provide the perfect environment for culturing up interesting yeast and bacteria for further flavour development. Grape juice, on the other hand, is going to provide you with a far cleaner, more precise flavour. It’s also going to give you some extra sugar, which yeast will turn to alcohol during fermentation, so beers with added must can, on occasion, be quite strong.
That isn’t the case with this Sauvignon Blanc Gose from Two Roads, however, which uses the Sauvignon Blanc grape to great effect. Fans of Nelson Sauvin will enjoy this light, thirst-quenching sour (the New Zealand hop takes its name from the flavour of this particularly fruity grape). Gooseberry is often its most obvious character and that’s ever present in this sour, which crams lots of effervescent, sparkling wine-like character into a beer that sits at just 4.8%.
This Gose is an uncomplicated beer, and perhaps a little one-dimensional. This, however, makes it an ideal lawnmower beer. Perfect for smashing down after a day spent in the hot sun, when a bottle of wine might be a little stronger and less thirst quenching than what you require. It also pairs excellently with barbecued chicken or fish, which means its a beer that can be easily enjoyed in the majority of summer scenarios.