While the BJCP recognizes 74 beer styles (not including the catch-all categories) there are many more that could be given the full homebrew competition treatment. Some of these are still evolving, such as Black IPAs (aka Cascadian Dark Ales) and American Wild Ales. In these cases craft brewers and homebrewers are producing many examples of the styles, but there is too much within style variation to consider them cohesive styles in the same way that Bohemian Pilsner or Belgian Tripels are. There are other styles (Rye IPA, Kellerbier) that haven't made the cut because while they don't have too much variation they simply aren't popular enough to warrant separate categories (like Southern English Brown Ale...). As a result these styles languish in the Specialty Beer and Belgian Specialty Ale categories (when the simple act of creating categories for them would cause more people to brew and enter them).
Gose is another example of a beer style that is largely ignored brewers. It is one of those grand historic beers that was popular in its day (~1900), but these days doesn't receive as much attention as its close cousins. A tart, salt and coriander laced wheat beer is something you'd expect to taste from Belgium, not Germany (which I suspect is part of the reason it hasn't benefited from the same boost other sour beers have gotten). As the Gose style stands today it falls roughly between Berliner Weisse and Belgian Wit, but with a salinity that adds to its unique character and quaffability on a warm day.
Gose production ceased for a couple decades after the end of WWII, but has since been revived in its adopted hometown of Leipzig, as well as more recently in the USA (Hollister Brewing's Tiny Bubbles just took silver at the 2010 GABF in German Style Sour Ales, and several other brewpubs mostly in Colorado and Oregon brew versions as well). Leipziger Gose from Bahnhof, the lone German example I've seen imported to America, is fine but never has enough acidity to really grab my attention (much like the majority of German Berliner Weisses).
Audrey and I stopped by Raccoon Lodge (Cascade Brewing) and tried their version of the style during our trip to Portland. The brewers there make four different variants each year, one for each season. We got to try both the summer (with the standard combo of coriander, salt), and the winter (with cranberry, hibiscus, and orange peel). Each was excellent, with a clean, but potent lactic acidity that complemented their unique flavors.
While Audrey was visiting DC over Columbus Day weekend we decided to brew something along the lines of Cascade's Summer Gose. The grain bill was comprised mostly of malted wheat with the remainder being pils, melanoidin (for added bready/malt flavor), and a couple ounces of acid malt to hold the pH of the mash down. The restrained bitterness was provided by a small addition of Saaz hops near the start of the boil.
For the spice I bought a bag of coriander from Patel Brothers (an Indian grocery store chain that I wasn't aware was a chain until I just went looking for their website). The oblong Indian variety of coriander has a fruitier less citrus/vegetal aroma than the stuff you get at the supermarket (plus at only $2.99 for 14 oz it is really cheap). We pulsed .5 oz of the seeds in a coffee grinder and added them near the end of the boil. To replicate the naturally saline water of Leipzig we added .5 oz of sea salt to the boil, I'm planning on adding more to taste at bottling (better to err on the low end to start).
My friend Matt gave me a culture of Lactobacillus which I had grown up at ~100 F in a weak DME solution for four days before brewing. We racked the wort into the fermenter and pitched the Lacto once the immersion chiller got it down to 90 F. The next morning there was visible activity so I aerated the wort and and pitched one pack of US-05 that I had rehydrated in 95 F water for 5 minutes (I don't normally rehydrate dry yeast, but with the acidity I wanted to make sure the yeast didn't stumble out of the gate.)
Hopefully with our first attempt at the style we'll end up with a beer that fits our tastes. If you want to read more about Gose I'd highly recommend picking up a copy of Stan Hieronymus's Brewing with Wheat (you could also read this article he wrote: First of all, it’s pronounced goes-a).
What Gose Round
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.41
Anticipated OG: 1.053
Anticipated SRM: 4.6
Anticipated IBU: 10.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
63.8% - 6.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
31.9% - 3.00 lbs. German Pilsener
2.7% - 0.25 lbs. Melanoidin Malt
1.7% - 0.16 lbs. Sauer(acid) Malt
0.75 oz. Czech Saaz (Pellet, 3.50% AA) @ 60 min.
14.00 g Indian Coriander @ 5 min.
14.00 g Sea Salt @ 5 min.
Profile: Washington DC
Sacch Rest 90 min @ 149
10/5/10 Pint starter made from DME, cooled to ~90 then pitched Lacto culture from Matt, used heating pad to keep it close to 100 F.
Brewed 10/9/10 with Audrey
Batch Sparged, collected 7 gallons of 1.040 wort. Slight boil-over.
Indian Coriander, coarse grind in a rotary coffee grinder.
Trader Joe's French sea salt.
Chilled to 90, racked to fermenter and pitched 1 pint of lactic acid starter. Left at ambient basement temp ~70 F.
Good activity after 16 hours, shook to aerate and pitched 1 pack of rehydrated US-05. Strong CO2 production within a couple hours.
10/15/10 Fermentation appears to be about complete.
1/05/11 Bottled 4.25 gallons with 3 5/8 oz of table sugar.
2/16/11 Turned out pretty well, but not as sour as we wanted. If you want it sour cut the hop addition in half to reduce the IBUs to about 5. If you want to taste the salt I would probably double the addition, but remember you can always add more.