I am a lover of porters and stouts especially when there’s a chill in the air. There’s something as comforting as a roaring fire and supping a beer the colour of coal.
With St Paddy’s day coming up, I thought I would pair a couple opposing beers on the stout spectrum with an Irish stew and soda bread. First from the micro world I uncapped an Oyster Stout from Bristol based Arbor who are making some very good beers these days. My first introduction being an excellent one off De Rokerij rauchbier or smoked beer.
Coming in at a very reasonable 4.6% their “seafood seasoned” stout gave off lovely snoot blasts of salty liquorice, sweet raisin bread and coal. On the palate, there were seams of rich iron and the pillowy, creamy texture was punched through with sea salt, bitter coffee grinds and a smooth as pearl finish. Yum!
My macro had to be a Guinness Foreign Extra which I embarrassingly had never tried before. Substantially more boozing at 7.5%, the nose sang a sticky treacle, sweet malt loaf, sweaty prune ballad. Pressing it to my lips I received a caress of sour ripe fig, unfermented grape must and a fine dry dark chocolate finish. Quite good, but perhaps not altogether to my taste.
The Arbour was certainly the better match for the stew with the GFE being more of a pudding beer in my humble opinion. But whatever style takes your fancy on St Patrick’s Day, when you raise your glass make sure it’s brimming with the black stuff.