Friday, 30 May 2008

Oysters with stout

Writing about oyster stouts several years ago, Michael Jackson made it clear (”Heaven sent - downing oysters by the pint“) there is a balance to be struck, be it stouts with oysters included or in finding the right stout to go with oysters.

"A stout must lean to the dry side if it’s to accompany oysters. Despite its fullness of body, Guinness’s Dublin-brewed, strong (7.5 per cent) and quaintly named Foreign Extra Stout does the trick. especially if it is lightly chilled. The regular bottled or canned stuff is arguably too sweet and the jury is out on the draught version.
Murphy’s and Beamish are barely dry enough, but there is a case for the peppery, spicy Cain’s Superior Stout, from Liverpool. I have long loved the toasty, faintly anise-like porter from Harvey’s of Lewes, East Sussex.

"The earthy intensity of stout is a perfect foil for the gamey brineyness of oysters. Disraeli once wrote of an election celebration: "I dined at the Carkon, on oysters, Guinness and boiled bone...In the early Victorian period, porters and stouts were everyday beers, and oysters a bar snack as commonplace as peanuts today. Porter dates from the early to mid-1700s, and is characterised by the use of highly kilned malts.."