Salt and cactus are not everyday beer ingredients.
Still, if it has flavor, someone will try to brew with it. The venerable craft beer pioneers at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company use prickly pear cactus and a bit of grapefruit in a slightly salty gose-style beer they call Otra Vez.
In Spanish, “otra vez” means “again” or “once more,” which is pretty much what a lot of beer drinkers are likely to say after trying this unusual and very tasty brew.
Gose is a northern German beer style seldom seen these days. Brewers combined salty local water sources — or added salt, if necessary — to make a wort using at least 50 percent wheat in the grain bill. The resulting unfiltered beer is cloudy, pale yellow, crisp in body and a bit sour and salty. Coriander combines with the salt vibe to create a dry finish.
A good gose has a snap and bite that sets it apart from other styles, offering bold flavor that goes well with party foods in a beer that is fairly light in alcohol.
Sierra Nevada’s take on the style comes in at 4.5 percent alcohol by volume and only 5 International Bitterness Units. Do not let that low IBU figure fool you into thinking this beer is sweet; it is not. It is tangy, snappy and tasty, but not at all sweet.