Do Olde Geuze And Oysters Go Together?

oysgeu1-1I was out hunting for some Caribbean stout to go with the PEI oysters I picked up and the incredibly jambi Mike Mundell’s shop this afternoon. Without success. What to do?

I love oysters. I used to live in view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on PEI’s north shore and heading over to Carr’s at Stanley Bridge for a half dozen Malpeques to suck back with my home brew. Despite the trade’s odd view of what makes for a benefit, the oysters know not what is done in their name. Quietly in their rocky shells they ignore such things, preferring to be pretty damn tasty and – at a buck and change – a great value.

So, instead of a strong sweet stout, I thought I would try them with a geuze, in the case a half bottle of Drie Fontienen’s Oude Gueze, the beer I had last New Year’s Eve. This one was bottled back on Friday, February 1, 2008 when I was having an Old Guardian for the twelfth edition of The Session. Let’s see what happens in mid-summer two and a half years later..

Wow. That is quite a combination. The barnyard funk of the geuze hits the oyster’s wharfy skank head on in your mouth. One of my more intense taste experiences when I think of it – which is all I can do given it is happening in my mouth right now. All that is missing is an overly aged chunk of blue cheese to make this as overwhelming an experience as it could be. But the aftertaste is creamy, like two waves counteracting each other leading to calm. The oyster brings out the apple notes and places the acidity in context. I am happily reaching for the next meaty oyster.

Success. Each assisted through the difficulties the other can pose. A vital combination.

One thought on “Do Olde Geuze And Oysters Go Together?”

  1. [Original comments…]

    bier – July 17, 2010 9:49 PM
    Sounds like a great combo.. while in oyster territory in Washington State last week every brewpub only had FRIED Oysters not fresh. Your pairing has made me crave for fresh oysters again..

    Stephen Beaumont – July 18, 2010 11:04 AM
    Wow, Alan experimenting with beer and food pairings! What’s next? Pete partnering with CAMRA? Ron endorsing Beer Advocate?

    Ilya Feynberg – July 18, 2010 6:08 PM
    I would say that the easy answer is YES! Those two seem like a great pairing. Perhaps even something like a Dunkel would pair very well with Oysters.


    Alan – July 18, 2010 7:37 PM
    Stephen, I wasn’t able to figure out how to pair the geuze withe the oysters so I just ate them and drank the beer. They went really well together. Not sure of they pair well, though.

    Gary Gillman – July 19, 2010 12:01 PM
    I’m not really sure any one kind of beer goes better with oysters than any other. Some pairings are traditional (stout, notably) but that pairing may be accidental more than anything else. For years and to this day, commercial Canadian beer was seen as the soul mate of P.E.I. oysters, in Legion Halls and many other places. It’s all good…

    A sharp acidic beer should not be inconsistent with oysters, at any rate. In France, some fairly tart white wines (e.g. from the Loire) are drunk with oysters. Lambic-type beer suits mussels and other fish dishes, so the same beer should accompany other seafood well. Yet so does porter and stout again, some samples of which are quite sweet.

    No question that in the higher reaches of gastronomy one can find excellent beer-and-food pairings but on a day-to-day basis, any good beer and a good oyster should be a match.


    Joe Stange – July 20, 2010 12:16 PM
    Then there is the fact that gueuze is not just a match for oysters — they are meant for each other. Or seem to be. I first tried them together on the recommendation of Frank Boon. Logically, the acidity cuts through the fatty oyster, and the latter has a natural sweetness that stands out a little more in contrast to the sour beer.

    And somehow the oysters make the gueuze seem like a thing of the sea as well. It’s not so far off, being the evolved product of a canal city where fresh shellfish have been consumed for generations, and where the North Sea breeze blows in at night, through the rafters and over the coolships, to inoculate the beer with its magic…

    Nothing scientific there but it’s what flashed through my mind the first time I tried the pairing.

    Nina Alvarez – October 1, 2012 7:00 PM
    This is going to sound strange, but I’ve been working on a novel that very much centers around oysters and beer. I’ve been trying to find the beer that the locals in my story drink – something perfect and special that they can brew in their backyard. I was thinking lambics, which lead me to gueuze, which lead me to this post. I am freaking out (in a good way) at the strangeness of the coincidence and the poetry that this has inspired in the writer and other commenters here. This is definitely a good lead…. THANKS!

    Alan – October 2, 2012 7:24 AM
    Happy to have been of assistance!

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