Booze 101: Don’t let difficult-to-pronounce beers stand in the way of a good pour

The name of an odd beer shouldn't be an intimidation that keeps you from ordering it.

The name of an odd beer shouldn’t be an intimidation that keeps you from ordering it.

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

These days, one could get their tongue twisted trying to order a beer. A little daunting, and definitely confusing, these beer styles cause the internal (and sometimes verbal) “Wha?” and “WTF is this?” reactions in the average bar goer. No need to run out and start studying for the Cicerone exam (although that would be super cool and impress your beer friends), PACIFIC’s got the lowdown on oddball beers, how to pronounce them like a pro, and where to find them.


(pronounced go-zuh)

Enjoying a surge of recent popularity in San Diego, this beer style dates back to 16th century Germany. Made with at least 50% malted wheat in the grain bill, its characteristic salty, dry and sour flavor profile comes from the addition of lactic acid, coriander and salt.


Modern Times: Fruitlands Passionfruit Guava Gose, 4.8% ABV,

Border X Brewing: Saladito, 4.2% ABV,

Black Market Brewing (Temecula): Watermelon Gose, 4.2% ABV,

Modern Times.

Modern Times.

(Rick Nocon)

Altbier (aka Alt)

(pronounced alt-bee-yer)

Translating as “old beer” in German, this mellow brown ale is a dark copper color and balances hop and malt characteristics. While top fermented like other ales (as opposed to bottom-fermenting lagers), altbiers maintain crispness by fermenting at cooler temperatures than other ales.


Monkey Paw: Ol’ Colo, 6.3% ABV,

Monkey Paw in East Village.

Monkey Paw in East Village.

(Nancee E. Lewis)


(pronounced groo-it)

Referring to the use of a mixture of herbs (gruit is German for herb), this style may exclude or minimize hops and incorporate yarrow, juniper, caraway, ginger, spruce tips, rosemary, chamomile, and mugwort.


South Park Brewing Co.: Herb & Honey Gruit, 6% ABV,


(pronounced Schvartz-bee-yer)

Hailing from Germany this black lager style is the perfect warm weather substitution for stout and porter. Maintaining notes of coffee and chocolate, but crisp on the palate, the bitterness is generally derived from hops instead of the malts characteristic of stouts and porters.


Bay City Brewing Co.: Bay City Dark Lager, 5.3% ABV,

Kuyt (aka Kuit, Koyt)

(pronounced kout)

Rarer than snow in these parts, this Dutch-style ale is gold to copper in color, with an emphasis on grains, containing at least 45% oat malt and 20% wheat malt, with a low hop aroma and flavor profile.


Monkey Paw Brewing: Son of OPA, 5% ABV,