Usually after running a marathon I indulge in several rounds of beer and nachos. This year, because I was pretty darn dehydrated, I decided to play it safe even after finishing 7L of sports drink. Still, there was no way I could pass up trying Sam Adams special 26.2 Boston Brew which they made special for the marathon. Since they only distributed this beer to a limited number of Boston spots, I figured a review would be in order so those of you unable to make it to the Hub over Patriot's Day weekend could live vicariously through me.
26.2 is a Gose beer, a relatively obscure style closely associated with the German city of Leipzig. One thing that makes this style so special is that it departs from the standards of the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law).* Gose is a top-fermented beer, brewed with more than 50% malted wheat and finished with malted barley. So far, sounds pretty standard, right? Well, in addition to hops, the beer is spiced with coriander and salt--yes you read that correctly, salt. It's also relatively low in alcohol, with the 26.2 interpretation coming it at 4.5%. Now you see why the Sam Adams folks figured it would be a good post-marathon beer!
I had this beer on tap at Fenway during the post-marathon open house so I was drinking from a plastic cup. It had a nice light golden color and was a little cloudy (though since my cup wasn't completely clear hard to say how much of this was the cup). I could certainly smell the coriander, but also some citrus rind. Anyway, I was far more interested in drinking this one than smelling it--I was still very thirsty.
At first taste you certainly notice the citrus notes and the breadiness of the wheat. Next, though, you notice the salt which gives the beer a nice dry finish. This is really perfect on a hot day and Monday was a very hot day. The brew was moderately carbonated which helped to add to the overall refreshingness (that's not a word, but I'm using it!).
My overall verdict? If you're in Boston in the next few days and see this on tap, it's certainly worth a try.
* The Reinheitsgebot was a Bavarian law while Gose hails from Saxony. That means Gose brewers weren't subject to the law's restrictions until the unification of Germany by which point the style was so established as to be effectively grandfathered in.