Goses are the perfect summer beer. Tart, refreshing, and low-ABV, they are still complex enough in flavor to provide an interesting drinking experience. Tons of breweries are pushing their takes on the style, but I was particularly interested to try Off Color’s take on the style, Troublesome.
The Chicago-based brewery caught my attention with its farmhouse ale, Apex Predator, and I’ve kept an eye out for any Off Color offerings ever since. When I saw Troublesome on my favorite airport restaurant’s bottle list, I knew how I’d be spending my layover.
As with all Off Color beers, the bottle art is beautiful—always a black-and-white sketch of an animal, in this case, it’s the brewery’s mouse mascot. Troublesome pours a hazy straw yellow from the bottle with a few inches of tightly bubbled white foam. It’s not particularly active in the glass, which surprises me given the bright crispness I associate with the carbonation in goses. As the head fades, the beer is left with minimal lacing, but even so, it’s an inviting color.
Troublesome is far from that archetype, relying much more on balance and subtlety than huge demonstrations of tart lemon, peppery coriander or brininess.”
Leaning over the glass, I’m overwhelmed with huge lemon tartness. While tartness is obviously common to the style, the tart quality in Troublesome’s aroma smells sweeter and deeper than most goses. It may be the unique composition of the malt bill that gives it this sweet aroma, since Troublesome uses flaked oats to complement the traditional wheat backbone. The coriander and salt used in the brewing process are faint in the aroma.
The tartness that slams the nose is much less pronounced in the taste. That bright citrusy touch is balanced by coriander and salt for a very subtle overall flavor. I’m used to goses overwhelming my palate, sometimes even making the beer more of a sipper despite the traditionally low-ABV. Troublesome is far from that archetype, relying much more on balance and subtlety than huge demonstrations of tart lemon, peppery coriander or brininess.
Despite very little activity, Troublesome is a highly carbonated beer—maybe a touch over-carbonated for my taste. It is certainly a light-bodied and airy beer, but the overall impact is more filling due to the strong carbonation.
Troublesome is extremely refreshing despite the bubbliness. With no flavor spikes, the beer is solid but maybe too subtle, even if it is tasty. Ultimately, the carbonation distracts from the already muted flavors and makes for a well-crafted, if not entirely memorable, take on the style.