With the recent rediscovery of the long-forgotten gose beer style, it seems like brewers are increasingly experimenting with salted beers. For those that don’t know, gose is a salted sour wheat ale flavoured with coriander originating Germany that almost went extinct until craft brewers resurrected the style over the past 15 years. And it’s friggin’ delicious!
The salt content is key to the flavour profile of gose. Gose dates back to the 18th century and its salt content was a result of the somewhat salty water in the town of Goslar, where the style originated.
But that’s not to say that it tastes salty. The salt enhances the flavours of the beer—yet also keeps them in balance—and adds a certain softness. Much like food, salt in a beer shouldn’t be perceptible on its own—if it tastes salty, you’ve added too much. Too little, and the flavours fall flat.
Craft brewers, being the savvy experimenters that they are, have wisely started adding salt to beers that aren’t goses, and the results are delicious.
Main Street’s Lava Salted Mocha Stout is a brilliant example of this. This collab with Honolulu Coffee features roasted coffee beans, cacao nibs and Hawaiian black lava salt, resulting in an absolutely delicious, endlessly drinkable stout.
The salt takes the edge off the sweetness of this stout and the bitterness of the roast coffee, while enhancing the chocolate flavours and keeping everything in balance. It’s surprisingly complex, with nutty notes of roasted malt, cherry and citrus supporting the bold coffee and chocolate flavours. And it finishes beautifully, never overstaying its welcome. It’s a beer of seeming contradictions: Bold, but balanced; full-bodied, but easy-drinking.
Lava Salted Mocha Stout by Main St. Brewing
Coffee stout • 5.7% ABV • 20 IBU • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Jet-black with a sturdy light brown head.
Aroma: Coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, cherry.
Flavour: Espresso, chocolate, roasted malt, nutty, slightly sweet, mild cherry fruit note, citrus and lovely minerality.
Body/Finish: Full, creamy body with an off-dry, slightly tannic finish.
Pairs with: Chicken mole, barbecued pork, chocolate mousse and obnoxious floral print button-ups.