I’m not judging. As a beer snob, and a music snob, and probably just an all-around snob, I know from snobbery. Suddenly you find yourself proclaiming Ariel Pink is the new Prince, until you hear him at Starbucks, and then some even lesser-known performer becomes the real new Prince, only to be supplanted by some pseudonymous Icelandic tone-poet that dresses like a tree. Or put it in terms of food: you like beef tenderloin, but then others like it, so you start liking the cheeks, the snout, the ears.
When those start turning up in gastropubs in the suburbs, you scramble. Brains? Bones? Hooves? And in time all that’s left is the penis. And you’re eating it like nom nom nom this bull penis is so good! But in reality, Ariel Pink gives you the fantods and you’d kill 10 men for a steak.
I’m not saying fanboys and -girls are incapable of sincere interest, nor am I disparaging the ceaseless pursuit of the new, nor the value geeks of all sorts provide to the culture; but when obsession enters its late stage and novelty comes to edge out all other criteria for approval and enjoyment, the whole thing is rendered completely senseless. For beer, Gose is that moment. It’s the bull penis, that Icelandic tone poem, the B-side, prized for its rarity, its status as an unexplored horizon. It means the glorious revolution has turned in on itself. Bad flavor is the new good flavor, because all the good flavors are taken. Gose is upon us. We are all sweat drinkers now.
Joe Keohane is a former Esquire editor. He’s also written for the New York Times, New Republic, and other gose-related publications. Follow him in all his salt-beer glory @JoeKeohane.