Beach Plum Gose
When I was a kid, I would eat damn near anything that came in plastic packaging: Candy bars, dried fruit, beef jerky—you name it. This streak came to an end one afternoon when I was visiting a friend’s house. I noticed a plastic jar filled with mystery objects wrapped in clear packaging. Obviously, I had to have it. “Are you sure?” my friend asked. “That’s dried seaweed.” Since things wrapped in plastic had never failed me before, I took one from the jar, unwrapped it and devoured it, only to learn that, no, I did not enjoy the taste of seaweed. My instincts had let me down.
And yet, here we are several decades later, and seaweed has reasserted itself in my life in ways I’d never expect. Blue Point Brewing Company's Beach Plum Gose is one example: Its list of ingredients boasts a seaside assortment of plums farmed on Long Island to seaweed plucked from the Atlantic Ocean. Blue Point is not the only brewery to add seaweed to their beers. It also shows up in Dogfish Head’s tart and delicious SeaQuench Ale. And while return of seaweed to my diet is unexpected, it’s far from unwelcome.
In keeping with the beer’s waterside theme, the design of the can’s label evokes the specific wear that comes from seasons of wind, sand and sun—faded colors and textures dominate the label. That’s a sharp contrast to the beer found within, which is richly colored and mostly opaque. A deep-gold brew is tinted with a reddish hue towards the middle. It’s a cloudy beer, one that’s somewhat translucent but still quite hazy.
It’s content to drift along peacefully, soaking up flavor and texture not unlike a piece of seaweed, waiting to see where it stops next.”
Inhaling Beach Plum Gose won’t summon up blissful images of crashing waves and salty breezes. Instead, there’s a sharpness to its smell—think apple cider vinegar. There’s also something beneath that—a sweet smell that hearkens back to the plums at the core of this brew. The combination of the two makes for a robust experience, and one that smells exactly as you’d imagine a sour beer made with fruit.
Beach Plum Gose has a complex flavor that comes at you in stages. At first, there’s the lightly sweet plum taste at the beer’s core. As that taste develops, the sour notes intensify, which doesn’t overwhelm, but does serve as a reminder that this is a sour beer at its core. The beer’s saltier ingredients shine in the finish, with the sea salt and seaweed becoming discernible, along with remnants of the plums.
As each flavor blends into the next, an overall feeling of restraint emerges from the beer. The sweet, sour and salty components of Beach Plum Gose are never overwhelming. Instead, they feel neatly proportioned. At times, perhaps, it’s a little too neat—upping the intensity of any or all of these flavors might make for a more memorable beer. But at 4.1% ABV, this isn’t necessarily a beer that’s about being overwhelming. It’s content to drift along peacefully, soaking up flavor and texture not unlike a piece of seaweed, waiting to see where it stops next.