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Toolbox in my fridge

Tracking down a bottle of gose

The label depicts downtown SD, but to drink this beer you usually need to go to Vista.
The label depicts downtown SD, but to drink this beer you usually need to go to Vista.

With 30-plus breweries hard at work north of highway 56, there's no shortage of tasty beer to drink in North County. However, for those of us who live south of the 8, getting up there to drink it all the time just isn't tenable.

Selfishly, I'd like to see more brands follow the lead of Iron Fist, Rip Current, Belching Beaver, and Stone — in other words, open tasting rooms closer to downtown. Realistically, I keep an eye out for North County beers on tap wherever I happen to be drinking. Better yet, I look for bottles and cans.

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Place

Bottlecraft North Park

3007 University Avenue, San Diego

I even dropped everything recently to make a run to Bottlecraft in North Park. According to the shop's instagram, it was carrying bottles of Toolbox Brewing's Citrus Gose. Toolbox beers aren't the easiest to find on tap, and their bottles rarely make it out of their tasting room. But, Bottlecraft has an in, so sure enough, I found a good dozen or so on the shelves. I picked up two for about eight bucks apiece.

I should point out that I'm sensitive to citrus, so I knew this beer's inclusion of key lime and meyer lemon was likely to make my tongue swell up — and it did. In light of that, I probably can't express my fondness for the beer any better than to say I drank both bottles anyway.

This style of wheat beer originated in Goslar, Germany, where the water has a bit of salinity to it. Speaking to head Toolbox brewer Ehren Schmidt about making goses, he mentioned filtering and treating San Diego tapwater water to mimic some of the qualities found in Goslar. However, when it came to the salinity in this gose, it may be attributed to sea salt.

Another nod to the traditional gose is its inclusion of coriander. But the thing about Toolbox is that it specializes in funky and sour beers, fermenting them with Brettanomyces yeast and both lactobacillus and pediococcus bacteria, rather than the usual roster of brewers' yeasts. While a gose typically does use the lacto portion of this trio, the others help make this beer more distinct to its brewery.

What makes it a particularly fun beer to drink is it has many easily identifiable layers. In addition to the citrus, salt, and coriander, there's a pilsner-like crispness to the body of this gose, along with a witbier tartness. But running through the middle there's a detectable funk, almost like a skunky beer, except not so pronounced, and in this context quite pleasing in combination with the rest.

These notes stack up on top of each other for a partly sour, partly bready style beer. Close your eyes and with each sip you may focus on one or another. It easily stands out from most of the beers in my fridge, but more importantly it tastes good.

Almost good enough to drive 40 miles for, if I have to.

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The label depicts downtown SD, but to drink this beer you usually need to go to Vista.
The label depicts downtown SD, but to drink this beer you usually need to go to Vista.

With 30-plus breweries hard at work north of highway 56, there's no shortage of tasty beer to drink in North County. However, for those of us who live south of the 8, getting up there to drink it all the time just isn't tenable.

Selfishly, I'd like to see more brands follow the lead of Iron Fist, Rip Current, Belching Beaver, and Stone — in other words, open tasting rooms closer to downtown. Realistically, I keep an eye out for North County beers on tap wherever I happen to be drinking. Better yet, I look for bottles and cans.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Place

Bottlecraft North Park

3007 University Avenue, San Diego

I even dropped everything recently to make a run to Bottlecraft in North Park. According to the shop's instagram, it was carrying bottles of Toolbox Brewing's Citrus Gose. Toolbox beers aren't the easiest to find on tap, and their bottles rarely make it out of their tasting room. But, Bottlecraft has an in, so sure enough, I found a good dozen or so on the shelves. I picked up two for about eight bucks apiece.

I should point out that I'm sensitive to citrus, so I knew this beer's inclusion of key lime and meyer lemon was likely to make my tongue swell up — and it did. In light of that, I probably can't express my fondness for the beer any better than to say I drank both bottles anyway.

This style of wheat beer originated in Goslar, Germany, where the water has a bit of salinity to it. Speaking to head Toolbox brewer Ehren Schmidt about making goses, he mentioned filtering and treating San Diego tapwater water to mimic some of the qualities found in Goslar. However, when it came to the salinity in this gose, it may be attributed to sea salt.

Another nod to the traditional gose is its inclusion of coriander. But the thing about Toolbox is that it specializes in funky and sour beers, fermenting them with Brettanomyces yeast and both lactobacillus and pediococcus bacteria, rather than the usual roster of brewers' yeasts. While a gose typically does use the lacto portion of this trio, the others help make this beer more distinct to its brewery.

What makes it a particularly fun beer to drink is it has many easily identifiable layers. In addition to the citrus, salt, and coriander, there's a pilsner-like crispness to the body of this gose, along with a witbier tartness. But running through the middle there's a detectable funk, almost like a skunky beer, except not so pronounced, and in this context quite pleasing in combination with the rest.

These notes stack up on top of each other for a partly sour, partly bready style beer. Close your eyes and with each sip you may focus on one or another. It easily stands out from most of the beers in my fridge, but more importantly it tastes good.

Almost good enough to drive 40 miles for, if I have to.

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