Oenophiles will tell you that the only libation worthy of oysters is a bright and crisp white wine. Or maybe a good French Champagne. But they are only half-right. Sure those bubbles perk your mouth right up, making your tongue a veritable welcome mat for the brilliant minerality of fresh oysters. But more than a few folks have discovered that great beer can do the exact same thing.
The perfect spot to put this idea to the test was at the 7th Annual Oyster Cook-Off held this past weekend at The Hangout in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Perched on a spit of sand between AL-59 and the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes the epicenter for an oyster showdown each fall. This year, event organizers added craft beer to the lineup. Brilliant move.
Participating brewers came from as far as Chicago and as close as Fairhope, setting up tasting stations in the inner courtyard of The Hangout, creating their own biergarten. Sampling pilsners, stouts, ales, and lagers, guests determined which beers and oyster preps they liked best as participants vied for the top spot in three categories: raw, Rockefeller and Cajun. Some will tell you they preferred pilsners (such as the Goose Island) with raw oysters but pours with more body (such as Blue Pants Brewery’s Pinstripe Seasonal Stripe) paired better with Oysters Rockefeller. And what goes well with those Cajun oysters? The Hopitoulas from NOLA Brewing, naturally.