Several members of the HopDuel community on twitter recently suggested I try Founder’s Brewing’s Green Zebra Watermelon Gose. Pronounced “goes-uh,” the gose was first brewed in the town of Gosler, Germany in the 1200’s. According to Craftbeer.com, the contemporary gose is “…cloudy from suspended yeast. A wide variety of herbal, spice, floral or fruity aromas other than found in traditional Leipzig-Style Gose are present, in harmony with other aromas. Salt (table salt) character is traditional in low amounts, but may be perceptible in varying intensities. Body is low to medium-low. Low to medium lactic acid character is evident in all examples as sharp, refreshing sourness.”
While searching for something to go up against the Green Zebra, as fate would have it, I found a Watermelon Gose from Terrapin Brewing Co just around the corner. This duel presents two well known, powerhouse brewers working with a very similar set of ingredients to produce beverages in a centuries-old style with the twist of adding one of my favorite summertime treats, watermelon. I have to admit, I am very skeptical about watermelon ever having a place inside a beer, but I’ve been told it’s great…so here gose nothing (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
|Better label||Terrapin Brewing Co. Watermelon Gose|
|Better aroma||Founders Brewing Green Zebra|
|Better taste||Founders Brewing Green Zebra|
|Better finish||Terrapin Brewing Co. Watermelon Gose|
|Winner||Founders Brewing Green Zebra|
Tell us about it
Each label design prominently features aspects of the watermelon, Terrapin focusing on the inside of the melon, with swirling red patterns and seeds sprinkled in, Founders focusing on the rind with it’s multi colored green zebra. I settled on Terrapin’s cleaner look, but did find a rather inspiring video about the Green Zebra design after doing a little research.
When it came to aroma, neither beer had what I was looking for – a powerful scent of watermelon! I leaned Founders here because it’s aroma presented a fruity tartness & sea salt mixture that I really enjoyed. The flavor, again, went to Founders because of it’s nicely balanced combination of sweet and salt. Despite a subtle amount of sour bitterness, it went down smooth from the first sip. Contrasting that style, the Terrapin was mostly salt forward and melon finish, but that’s where the Terrapin separated itself. The watermelon kick I was hoping for really arrived in that finish, and it was delightful.
To my surprise, I enjoyed both of these beers quite a bit. While each played down the watermelon flavor more than I would have expected, they were both delicious in their own way. I settled on Founders as the champion because I felt it represented the category a bit better, but this could have gone either way. Next time you’ve got a day at the beach planned, throw a few of each in the cooler and let your taste buds decide which you prefer!