In the gastro pubs of the US, a glass of stout and a dozen oysters will easily run you upwards of $25, and that’s if you are lucky. But it hasn’t always been this way. Once upon a time, these popular items were a pairing made in working class heaven.
The classic pairing of these mollusks and stout porters began in the beginning in the 18th century. Stouts were literally invented as brewers acquired the technology to produce roasted malts, the essential malt to make stout. It became the beer of choice for the working class.
Simultaneously, oysters were literally dirt cheap in bars and haunts everywhere. They were so prominent, the supply somehow exceeded the demand. This cheap, seemingly nutrient rich post-shift meal exploded across the country. So much so, that even to this day, it is still one of the quintessential pairings in the beer world.
Sadly, the rise of pale ales and decline of oyster beds in the 20th century caused this pairing to fall out of favor. But with the resurgence of the stouts and efforts to repopulate oyster beds, we may soon see a rise in this working man’s meal.