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Beer for Skiers: Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose and Black Rice Ale

Step up your flavor game with two amazing beers from a trendsetting California brewery.

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Skiers tend to be creatures of habit. We know exactly when to wake up to beat traffic on a powder day, which chairlifts to connect to find the best conditions all day long, and which type of beer is best for après. But sometimes, our curiosity gets the better of us: What if we check out a different ski area the next time it snows? What if we check out the glades first before hiking the bowl? Why don’t I try a Gose today instead of an IPA? Also, what the heck is a Gose?

Briney Melon Gose from Anderson Valley Brewing
The Anderson Valley Brewing Briney Melon Gose and a watermelon.Photo courtesy of Anderson Valley Brewing

Well, as fortune favors the brave, Anderson Valley has cooked up an amazing Gose (pronounced Go-zuh) for the next time you feel like mixing it up. The Briney Melon Gose starts off with subtle notes of melon and salt before overwhelming the entire mouth with strong tart and brine flavors. Then, like a phantom in the night, the strong flavors pass as if they were never there, finishing more like a light European pilsner. The beer provides an enjoyable flavor sensation with every sip, and an experience anyone who likes beer should try.

Gose is an old German style of beer known for a salty, sour taste that can be described as anything but bitter. Anderson Valley Brewing is no stranger to the style, which might explain why the Briney Melon Gose is so good. Their head brewer, Fal Allen, wrote the book about Gose beer and was mostly responsible for introducing it to the American craft beer scene about a decade ago. After Anderson Valley Brewing started making Gose, the style has become strikingly popular in some craft beer circles over the last decade. 

“IPA was overwhelmingly large at the time (around 2012) and a lot of people had heard of IPA and knew that it was cool, but I’m not sure all those people like beer as bitter as an IPA,” Allen told in 2018

If you’re not quite ready for the full-on Gose experience but still want to dip your toes, Anderson Valley’s Cherry Gose is a great place to start. The sour notes are just barely present, and the hint of sweet cherry evens out the flavor perfectly.

If you’re just not into sour beers, Anderson Valley has a number of other great, out-of-the-ordinary brew styles as well. My favorite is the Black Rice Ale, which uses “forbidden” black rice in the brewing process along with pale two-row and chocolate malts. It tastes like a proper brown ale with just a hint of complex nuttiness from the rice (and don’t be skeptical of beers brewed with rice, Budweiser has been doing it for years). With a 3.8% ABV and minimal bitterness (18 IBUs), it goes down awfully easy after a day of skiing.

Both beers from the California brewery are available across the west. Do yourself a favor and mix it up this spring, and you might just find your new favorite.

Anderson Valley Briney Melon Notes

Briney Melon Gose can
Briney Melon Gose in a can.Photo courtesy of Anderson Valley Brewing
  • Beer Type: Fruited Gose
  • Flavor Notes: Tartness, subtle watermelon, sea salt
  • Pairs well with: Grilled chicken or fish; salads; chevre; courage to try something new
  • Recommended Glassware: Stange, pint glass
  • Malts: Pale Two-Row, Malted White Wheat
  • Hops: Bravo
  • ABV: 4.2% IBUs: 12
  • More Info: Anderson Valley Brewing’s Website; Untappd Profile

Anderson Valley Black Rice Ale Notes

Black rice Ale Can
Anderson Valley Brewing Black Rice Ale in a can.Photo courtesy of Anderson Valley Brewing
  • Beer Type: Nut Brown Ale
  • Flavor Notes: Roasted malt, dark rye bread
  • Pairs well with: Complex palates, dark chocolate, high-speed descents in the Tahoe area
  • Recommended Glassware: Pint Glass
  • Malts: Pale Two-Row, Chocolate, Black Rice
  • Hops: Liberty
  • Calories: 97; ABV: 3.8%; IBUs: 18 
  • More info: Anderson Valley Brewing’s Website; Untappd Profile