Saline Solutions

Turns out that salting your beer is no mistake

Beer's fondness for salty foods is a given. But that's not enough for some brewmasters.

Emerging from the darkest realms of beer geekdom, salted beers such as gose–a tart wheat ale that originated in Leipzig–are making their way into the mainstream.

At the new Armstrong Brewing, which operates out of a closet-size brewery in a South San Francisco industrial complex, Mo's Gose has a permanent place on the taps. You can check out the beer ($1 for a taste; $5 for a pint) at one of the brewery's Friday-night open houses (hint: use Google Maps to find the place).

Brewmaster Nick Armstrong says he's still playing with the level of acidity. At present it's a light, fresh ale with a soft brininess; coriander and hops shine through in equal measure.

We picked up a salted Swiss ale at the new Trappist Provisions in Rockridge that we liked just as much. Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes' Douze ($9.50 for 33 cl, $23 for 750 ml) drinks much like a Belgian golden ale, with a lovely peach aroma at the fore. A touch of fleur de sel simply fleshes out the body of the beer, counterbalancing its richness.

It's subtle enough, in fact, to drink with pretzels.