The summer months are just around the corner and that means outdoor drinking under the sun and hopefully with your feet in the sand. While there are many beers that are well suited for situations of this nature, there are definitely some that are better than others. A good fresh IPA is never a bad idea but even single IPAs that come in around 6% abv will start to catch up with you when it's hot out and I don't even want to know what would happen if you started drinking DIPAs on the beach for hours on end. Session IPAs are fine but most of them are unbalanced and will leave your pallet yearning for something different after two or three. Shandy's and Radlers might be the play for some but I don't have time for beer mixed with juice. If you're keeping things cheap, a cooler full of Rolling Rock long necks is the quickest way to my heart but I can understand why that might not appeal to everyone.
Enter the Gose and Berliner Weisse. Both are German style wheat beers that have lactobacillus added during the brewing process to add a distinct yogurty tartness and Gose also includes the addition off coriander and sea salt. Both styles, while different fall under the same umbrella of dry, drinkable and generally speaking low abv which makes for the perfect beers to drink during the summer. While I personally wasn't pleased with Sierra Nevada's interpretation of the Gose with their release of Otra Vez it was still a tasty beer and will hopefully act as a bridge for people to start drinking more beers of this genre. I can't say enough good things about Evil Twin's NOMADer Weisse as evidenced by the fact that I bring it to nearly half of my tastings, Westbrook's Gose is out of this world when you can find it and Ithaca Brewing summer seasonal Cayuga Cruiser was my favorite beer of the summer of 2015.
Whenever I present a sour beer to someone who isn't familiar with the style I make sure to tell them to give it more than one chance when they first taste it. The flavors are so drastically different from what most people expect from beer that it can take a few tries before you start to fully appreciate the style. I recalled buying a bottle of beer (I don't remember exactly what it was) back in 2009 or '10 with my buddy John and after smelling and tasting the sourness we poured out the entire 750ml bottle thinking it had gone bad. At the time it was an honest mistake but I look back now and realize we were just completely blind to sour beer actually being something people would want to drink.
Most beer bars offer you the chance to taste something before ordering a full pour and even if you're still planning to order something totally different, so be afraid to ask the next time you see a Gose or Berliner Weisse on the menu. If you're in a bottle shop both styles are usually reasonably priced, especially the ones I mentioned because they're not wild sours, so cough up the $2-$4 and give them a try. Maybe they're not for you after all but for the rest of you it will be a discovery that you'll be very happy to have made. If you are New York beer nerd and you happen to come across any of the sours from Finback definitely don't pass them up, this particular Gose was a limited run but I'm hopeful that they will can a few more similar to this as the summer progresses.