Salt beer? Aloha Beer Co. introduces a limited-release beer using Hawaii's ocean water

Aloha Beer Co.'s Gose beer

Salty food + beer = match made in sports bar heaven. But salt brewed into beer? What?

This Friday, June 28, Aloha Beer Co. introduces a limited-release beer brewed with ocean water—yup, ocean water, hauled from a secret spot in Waimanalo by brewmaster Dave Campbell. The beer is called a Gose (“Gose-uh”), a rare and almost forgotten German-style of beer, originally brewed in the small town of Goslar, Germany, where the water is naturally very salty. The beer eventually became popular in the city of Leipzig and thrived until the end of World War II. After the war, when Germany was split into two, the Communist regime of the East shut down the breweries producing this beer and the style was lost. It wasn’t until German reunification that small breweries in Leipzig began brewing Gose again.

Fast forward to 2012, when Campbell visited the Trappist Bar in Oakland, where he first tasted salt beer. "I was blown away and thought this would be killer in Hawaii," says Campbell. “Hawaii brewers are always looking for ways to use local ingredients and you can't get more local than ocean water. It's what Hawaii is known for—beautiful oceans and surf.”

So what does a beer made with salt water taste like? Surprisingly unsalty. In addition to Waimanalo ocean water (sanitized in the brewing process, of course), Campbell added wheat malt and barley and crushed coriander for a slight spice flavor. The result: slightly hazy and pale yellow in color, and just like a hefeweizen, Aloha Beer’s Gose has aromas of citrus and sourdough bread. The flavor is slightly tart and sour, almost lemony, with a finish that is crisp and dry. You’ll taste a soft spice from the coriander and only notice a slight saltiness on your lips. You may be reminded of a salty margarita, just without the sweetness. At only 5.25 percent alcohol, this is a thirst-quenching beer and pairs well with seafood and spicy dishes.

Aloha Beer Gose available starting June 28 at Aloha Beer Co.’s beer hall., 545-5959

Timothy Golden is a homebrewer and beer lover. Find more of his writing on Hawaii’s beer scene at