Why stouts & oysters go so well together, and where to find them

Why stouts & oysters go so well together, and where to find them

After a scaled-down version last March, the annual Schlafly Stouts & Oyster Festival is back as it should be, Friday, March 25 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, March 26 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. at the historic Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust St, St. Louis, MO 63103).

The event is the largest of its kind in the Midwest, flying in over 80,000 oysters overnight from both coasts and brewing more than 15 stouts exclusively for the popular festival.

No tickets are required. This is a free event. Just pay for whatever beer and food you’d like.

Stouts & oysters

I honestly can eat oysters with anything, but there is an interesting connection between this fruit of the sea, and stouts, begging the question: why do oysters and stouts go so well together?

When you think about it, the pairing of the two doesn’t seem so likely, but according to the Pangea Shellfish Company out of Boston, they go perfectly together.

Stout is typically a dark beer with chocolate, coffee and caramel aromas, with a slight bitter and mineral finish. Brewed with heavily roasted malt, this viscous beer can be a meal within itself. More stereotypical oyster pairings tend to include dryer white wines, champagne or a pilsner, but the oyster and stout pairing is an even better match.

The balance of any mouthful is a play on the five tastes; sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. These tastes play off one another to create various levels of enjoyment from palate to palate and explain various reasons for why we eat the way we do. For instance, a hot cup of black coffee has nutty and roasted aromas and can be bitter and sour. Some people like this flavor, so they drink it black. Others may find it too harsh, so they will lessen the bitterness with sugar and mute the sour and the rest of the bitterness with cream or milk.

Now, apply this concept to our stout and oyster pairing and we can see why it works. The sharp bite of brine in an oyster and the toasty chocolate of the stout will pop. The sweetness in the oyster will then, in return, lessen the bitter finish of the beer, leaving behind the creamy texture that any good stout should have.

Put the Stouts & Oysters theory to the test

Schlafly works directly with the oyster farmers who attend the festival as the “star shuckers”, and these 25 professional “shuckers” from across North America shuck oysters on-site all weekend. The event is free to attend, and guests pay for their preferred food and beer.

“It’s been two years since we’ve been able to host Stout & Oyster Festival and we could not be more excited to welcome guests back for our most popular beer festival of the year,” says CEO Fran Caradonna. “We look forward to welcoming our friends in the community as well as our cast of shuckers from all over the country to the Tap Room to enjoy great times, laughs, and great beer.”

Returning as well is the Schlafly Stout Sampler with rotating specialty stouts throughout the weekend such as: Tabasco Stout, Red Hot Riplet Stout, Chocolate Cherry Stout, Maplewood Coffee Stout featuring La Cosecha coffee, St. Charles Coffee Stout featuring Course coffee, and more.

Apart from stouts, other favorite Schlafly styles will also be available for purchase such as White Lager, Just a Bit Hazy IPA, Pale Ale, Classic Proper Cider, and more.

Schlafly will also offer a special Oyster Stout to commemorate the 2022 Stout & Oyster Festival.

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