Far From Sovereign
A Review of Saint Saltan by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Posted on 4/15/2013 by Chops
                   
Good
Few beer drinkers are familiar with the Gose style of beer. Gose is a German-style wheat beer made with at least 50% malted wheat, coriander seeds, and salt. Yeah, let that strange combination sink in for a moment. I would assume this is the primary reason why we rarely see the style on the market. Most beer drinkers have a hard enough time dealing with various spices, let alone salt. It's just not an ingredient that sounds appealing on paper. Now place this style into the hands of Magic Hat, a brewery well known for its carefree attitude and whimsical approach to brewing. I have to be honest. I went into the Saint Saltan Gose fully expecting to be flummoxed.

It should be noted that due to the addition of salt, Gose beer does not meet the strict Reinheitsgebot rules for brewing. As a result, Gose is generally looked at as a regional specialty rather than a legitimate beer style. Gose originated in Goslar, Germany back in the 18th century and became the beer of choice in Leipzig, Germany. Gose largely disappeared in the early 19th century, but has since seen a resurgence through the current craft beer movement.

In the glass, Saint Saltan has a clear golden coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has good retention. On the nose, I found little more than some grass and tart lemon citrus, which also translate into the primary flavors. Other lesser flavors include light bread and a faint herbal quality. I couldn't find much influence from the salt addition at all. To my palate, this beer tasted like a standard lager or a weak pale ale with some witbier qualities. The mouthfeel is crisp, clean, light bodied and easy to drink. The hop profile is very mild and is only noticeable on the exit. The beer finishes somewhat dry and leaves behind a mild bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Magic Hat's Saint Saltan Gose is a good baseline wheat beer. I expected to be disturbed, but found myself underwhelmed. I would certainly fill a beach cooler with these brews because they are crisp, light and refreshing. But as a representative of the unique Gose beer style, I found Saint Saltan to be lacking in character. Based on my own research, I would imagine that this is a mediocre example of the Gose style, but I just don't have enough experience to form a solid opinion. As a result, I cannot recommend it to any specific camp, nor would I steer anyone away from it. Saint Saltan is far from sovereign, but satisfying it most certainly is. Just enjoy it as an easy drinking wheat beer that nicely compliments a warm spring day.

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Saint Saltan by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
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