"What's to fear from a glass of beer?" as the saying goes – especially when we're talking about an outstanding Leipzig beer specialty, Gose bee
Gose is a tangy top-fermented beer containing 4.5% alcohol by volume.
Originally Gose had nothing to do with Leipzig. The name came from the Gose, a stream flowing through the town of Goslar. Beer was first brewed in Goslar 1,000 years ago, and the same kind of beer was soon also produced in other towns in the Harz Mountains. Gose was also brought to Saxony-Anhalt, where it was successfully marketed by the Gose brewery in Glauditz. Prince Leopold I of Dessau, known as the "Old Dessauer", was especially fond of Gose beer from Glauditz. When he visited Eutritzsch by Leipzig in 1738 he was so disappointed by Leipzig beer that he promised the local innkeeper to release him from the obligation to serve beer produced in Leipzig. The landlord soon took delivery of the first Gose beer from Glauditz, making his tavern the first "Gosenschänke" ("Gose inn") in the Leipzig district. Gradually Gose became the main Leipzig beer. True to the saying "Die Studiosen tranken 2–20 Gosen!" ("The students drank 2–20 Gose beers!"), Goethe enjoyed serious amounts of this top-fermented beer when he was enrolled at the University of Leipzig.
The "Ohne Bedenken" Gose inn founded by the Cajeris family at Menckestraße 5, Leipzig, became especially well-known. It was reopened in 1986 after extensive refurbishment and is now the only Gose inn to still be in existence at its original address. The reopening of the "Ohne Bedenken" was responsible for the resurgence of Gose beer, which had been forgotten since World War II. In the year 2000, a new Gose brewery and inn was opened at Bayerischer Bahnhof (Bavarian Station) in Leipzig, and sales of Gose already far exceed expectations.
In addition to its refreshing qualities, many people swear by Gose as an aphrodisiac. Those who find original Gose a little too tangy might like to try one of the flavoured types available containing:
- A dash of concentrated cordial (the "Sonnenschirm" or sunshade)
- A dash of cherry liqueur (the "Frauenfreundlicher" or "women's friend")
- A dash of kümmel (the "Regenschirm" or umbrella)
Sources include: Weinkauf, Bernd: Leipzig auf dem Tablett (Leipzig on a tray), Leipzig 1992; Kochbüchlein Sachsen (Little Saxon Cook Book), Leipzig 1992; Heise, Ulla: Zu Gast im Alten Leipzig (Visiting Old Leipzig), Munich 1996, Fremdenverkehrsverein Leipzig e.V. (pub.): Allerleipziger Lust & Leut (All Sorts of Fun and People in Leipzig), Leipzig 1994; menu from "Barthels Hof"; menu from the Gose inn "Ohne Bedenken"; Café Kandler: Die Geschichte der Leipziger Lerche (leaflet on the history of the "Leipziger Lerche"); Heyne MINI No. 33/1290: Sachsen kocht (Saxony Cooks), Munich 1995; Leipzig hat wieder eine Gosenbrauerei (Leipzig has a Gose brewery again), Brauwelt No. 46/47 2000; Seiffert, Max: Johann Sebastian Bach 1716 in Halle, anthologies of the Internationale Musikgesellschaft (International Music Association), 1904/06