Saturday, April 21, 2018
Bars & Spirits

It gosen't have to be this way: The end of the gose pun is now

This One Gose to 11… That's the one that finally did it. People, gose puns are over.

I don't mean that in a good way. Now, you could accuse me of being a crotchety complainer, and you'd be right. But that doesn't mean that gose puns haven't become 100 percent played out, boring and just plain lazy.

Sure, "The One Gose to 11" is cute, and it commemorates a film worthy of endless commemoration, but to me, it's another in the pile of all-too-easy puns used to name beers that might otherwise have some serious thought put into them. Not since IPAs were still the hippest beers out there have we been inundated with such groaners for beer names.

There Gose the Neighborhood; Here Gose Nothing; And So It Gose. Wake Me Up Before You Gose; Gosebusters. GOSEBUSTERS?!

At this point, it's almost secondary that gose is pronounced "gose-uh" and not "goes." While I'm aware that my preoccupation with gose puns may seem pedantic, I think there's actually a semi-serious issue at the heart of it. The gose pun trend may be symptomatic of a broader problem — if it can be called that — in the beer world, and that's an insidious form of complacency disguised as creativity.

Consider a lychee-mango gose aged in rum barrels. We'll call it It Gose to Show.

Now, I can say with around 10 percent certainty that this beer doesn't exist, but if it did, would it be innovative? Would it be creative and pushing the boundaries in an industry whose very foundation is built on creativity and boundaries being pushed?

On the surface, it looks like it, right? And the beer would very likely taste fantastic, so no problem there. But if we're being honest, it has more in common with a line of flavoring syrups used to customize your latte than it does with the true spirit of brewing innovation. It's one step beyond a random beer concept generator — which, by the way, I hope someone has created — and it took me less than 20 seconds to conjure up. I'll bet there would be a line at the bottle release.

This kind of superficial creativity will impress and amuse drinkers for a few years, but it's not the kind of serious experimentation that the beer craze was borne of. It's not the worst thing that could happen, because the vast majority of these punny goses are still pretty darn delicious, and, despite my cynicism, I can hardly resist ordering them whenever they pop up on a brewery chalkboard. But we've got to think about the big picture here.

What I want to see is breweries doing something new. Feel free to make a delicious, Panang curry gose; just don't pretend that you're breaking new ground. Coloring inside the lines isn't exactly avant garde, even if the color combinations you're using aren't typical.

Brew a gose and be proud of it. Maybe pick a name that you had to put some work into. Instead of Googling goses to find a fruit combination that hasn't been used yet, consider different, truly fresh ways to separate your beer from the crowd. Or just brew a plain, well-made gose, as you would do with the hundred other styles that don't have a mandatory pun requirement attached to them (imagine if everyone tried using wit as a pun to name their Belgian whites).

Sam Adams released a gose called Verloren about a year before the gose craze kicked off. Verloren means "lost," as in extinct, which this style nearly was before its current revival. Another translation of verloren is "doomed." A coincidence. Maybe.

If a sea of very similar goses with only the most superficial differences and cookie-cutter pun names flood the market, then we'll be forced to see them for what they are: fun for now, but with the longevity of a Beanie Baby. These beers will — and should — be enjoyed by all, but we should be careful not to be lazy, especially when that laziness is so easy to confuse with innovation.

Contact: [email protected]; @WordsWithJG.

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