Every so often I encounter a beer that challenges my own logic.
In my book, Modern British Beer, I devised a philosophy I call the Broad Spectrum of Joy in which I pose that all beers are valid, because someone, somewhere, enjoys them. Shitty macro lagers are valid. Hazy IPAs are valid. Funky geuzes are valid. Hell, even 15% pastry-stouts-that-taste-like-vape-juice are valid. The whole point of a beer existing is for enjoyment, so if someone enjoys it then you absolutely have no right to take that away from them.
But here I am with a can of guava, mango, passion fruit, marshmallow and lactose beer that I feel has been sent to test my own philosophy. I feel like I have been set up by its creators: Sweden’s Duckpond Brewing and Little Rain Brewing of Barcelona. But I have made my bed, so I shall very well lie upon it.
I often struggle with the use of the word “gose” in modern, heavily fruited/candied styles. A true gose is a slightly sour wheat beer brewed with salt and toasted coriander seeds that originates from Eastern Germany and has a mildly sour, tangy taste. However, upon its resurrection a few years ago, the term replaced Berliner Weisse as the de facto descriptor for sour, fruity beers, probably because it was easier to say. Remember though, it’s a German word, so it’s got all the syllables. (Say it with me now: GO-zuh.)
I can accept, however, that for many newer drinkers it's become an easy way of explaining what a beer will taste like. While the modern fruited gose is nowhere near a true historical replication of its forebear, I believe styles, like language, should be malleable and change to suit the needs of the people who use it. So absolutely, this is a gose, but if you teleported a 19th century German brewer forward in time, they’d probably have an aneurysm if you handed them a can and told them that.
But you know what? Once they got over the initial culture shock, they would probably think this beer is delicious. Because it is, in a sherry trifle meets strawberry pavlova kinda way. This beer is out and out pudding. It’s creamy, it’s delicious and it has plenty of tangy, acidic fruit balancing all that sweetness out. Yum.
Yes, all beers are valid, including this one. And if some beer snob tries to tell you otherwise just ignore them and get yourself another can of delicious Guava Jelly.Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.