Gose Beer | the history of brewers on the salt river
A travel through time to discover salted beer origin and the creativity of Goslär brewers. We will meet Frankish warriors, mineworkers, emperors and brewers.Frankish warriors on the salt river.
Before entering our story, stop for a moment and imagine a group of Frankish warriors foraying into Saxon territories and deciding to encamp on a prosperous valley on a river bank; they took off their chain mail, put their sword down and bowed to drink. Now imagine their astonishment when they found out that water is slightly salty.
Goslär, Gose's city, is a stop along the Salt Road.
The first written record about the existence of salted beers dates back to 1332, but their history started some centuries before and its origin has to be traced in Eastern Germany, precisely in Goslär, a Lower Saxon city originated by a Frankish encampment along Gose river. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Goslär has been frequented for a long time because something very precious lies on the near mountains, an essential ingredient for the diet of human beings that have been living in Europe since the dawn of man. Not by chance it lies on the Salt Road.
In 968 Goslär history speeds up: near to it, on the Rammelsberg Mount, somebody found silver. Deposits revealed themselves important and Goslär became shortly a busy mining centre; at the end of 10th century, the mining activity was intense and the city flourished so much that it hosted the Imperial Synod of 1009 and an imperial seat (of Holy Roman Empire); there Henry IV of Franconia was born (1050-1106).
Goslär, salt water stimulates brewers’ creativity and Gose beer was born.
We do not know if mineworkers were allowed to drink beer or if nobility and bourgeoise only could permit themselves such senses and spirit refreshment; the fact is that brasseries were present in Goslär towards the end of the first millennium.
Usually, water slightly influences beer quality, but not to the point that of conditioning production criteria. However, in Goslär water is so salty that brewers were forced to experiment new methods and to refine the recipe until the presence of salt gained a positive value. Beer was savoury but it was appreciated and took the name from the salt creek of the city. Gose became famous to such an extent that it received the praises of the Emperor Otto III.
The origins of Gose beer represent a clear example of how chance and a specific territory characteristics can determine a beer taste, but also of how much creativity and expertise of brewers is important.
Goslär events are fascinating, but the long evolutionary history of Gose style has just begun, if we want to follow the events, we have to move to Leipzig. In the next article we will find out how Leipizger Gose was born and we will follow its alternate events until today. Follow us on OTUS TRIP.