Maverick & Gose Key lime gose by 32 North — a sour beer for not yet sour-beer drinkers
Though I'm only a few articles into my stint as the Reader’s new beer reporter, most of the news thus far seems to indicate at least a minor shift in San Diego's beer identity.
A number of veteran brewers seem intent to shake free of the huge hop, West Coast IPA expectations by digging deeper into sour north German and Belgian styles, with several new craft entities following suit. It's not necessarily a bad attempt to stake out brand identity in a crowded IPA market, and it seems fitting that I go with a sour beer to review this week.
8655 Production Avenue, Suite A, San Diego
Open less than a year, 32 North seems to be making good on its promise to bring "new and exciting craft beer" to San Diego. During a recent visit, three of the six offerings I found were sours, including a black-currant take on its Landfill Berliner Weisse, the tart and lively north German wheat beer that initially put this brewery on the map (at a latitude of roughly 32º north, in case you were wondering).
But I was particularly taken with a more recent offering: Maverick & Gose, a 4.1% alcohol sour described on the chalkboard as a Key lime gose. As it turns out, 32 North isn't the first or even second craft brewer in the country to name a gose after the pilots in Top Gun, but given its Miramar address, just blocks away from the film's flight-school setting, we might need to claim eminent domain on this one.
True to the traditional gose style, Maverick & Gose pours cloudy and yellow, with notes of salinity, acidity, and, at a mere 3 IBU, nary a hops profile. What it offers instead, as advertised, is lime. It essentially drinks like a sparkling lemonade, lightly tart with fruit-forward sweetness and clean aftertaste. It's a not-so-sour sour, lacking in complexity, but perfectly balanced. Since it doesn't taste very beery, I could even see it work as a cocktail mixer, perhaps as an interesting tonic replacement for gin, and have to wonder whether anyone at the brewery has thought to try this.
So far as deeply immersed beer geeks are concerned, this may not play as a must-try beer, as it could legitimately draw comparisons to Gatorade, a can of Country Time Lemonade or even Mike's Hard Lemonade. I don't say so with any snark, though — while reminiscent of such drinks, I enjoyed this expertly realized foray into experimental brewing far more, and hope to find it again. It's sweetness wasn't cloying, and neither was its citrus overkill. As a gateway into the potential of sour beers, it could be a great starting point to prime a casual beer drinker for the more rewarding flavors of a 32 North Berliner Weisse.