Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Double Tap . . . Southern Tier 2X Stout & Marston's Oyster Stout

I recently ventured into a new realm of stouts . . . I tried a milk stout and an oyster stout.  

Milk stout are not made with milk, per se.  They are called milk stouts (AKA sweet or cream stout) because they contain lactose, which is the sugar that is extracted from milk whey.  The yeast used to make beer is lactose intolerant . . . which is to say that the yeast cannot ferment this sugar . . . and because this sugar is left unmolested by the brewing process milk stouts are sweeter in tasted and creamier in texture.    

Oyster stouts . . . are they actually made with oysters?  Yeah, some actually are . . . not all, but some.  Some brewers will chuck a handful of oysters in to the batch, some will used crushed oyster shells in the brewing process.   

There is a 300 year long history of pairing oysters with beer.  Why?  They taste good when you consume them together . . . much like red wine and dark chocolate.  Brewers didn't start adding oysters to beer until the 1920's; the added proteins add body to the finished product but most of the mollusky essence is cooked out. You don't see a lot of true oyster stouts these days.  Many oyster stouts are so-called because they pair well with the slimy buggers.    Read the label if the thought of oysters in your beer turns you off.

I enjoyed a Southern Tier 2X Stout at one of my favorite restaurants for beer, Plan B.  

Southern Tier Brewing Company is a smallish brewery in Lakewood, New York.  They make several varieties of craft beers that are sold in most of the United States and exported to several other countries, as well.

2X is a double milk stout.  It is dark and rich with a creamy mouth feel.   The  thick tannish head holds out for a little while and grabs the sides of the glass for some nice lacing effects.  It is sweeter than a typical stout but not sweet-sweet, if you know what I mean.  

2X has notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and malt with a mildly bitter finish.  A light boozy burn is evident due to the high alcohol content; 7.50% ABV.
This is a big . . . but not huge  . . . beer.  2X has lots of flavor and body with a smooth clean aftertaste but it's not gut-busting heavy.   Simply put . . . it's a good beer.

Check out Southern Tiers other offerings at their website or on Facebook.

Marston's Oyster Stout . . . 

Marston's  Beer Company has several breweries across the pond in merry ol' England. And is considered Britain’s largest premium ale brewer.

Marston's is one of those not made with oysters oyster stouts.  But is touted as being a beer that goes well oysters.

This is a very dark stout . . . nearly black with a quickly dissipating tan head.  It has a creamy, smooth texture that should be expected with this style of beer.  It tastes of chocolate, coffee and hints of fruit and finishes with a mildly hoppy bitterness; overall, a nice balance of flavors.

This stout is rather light, due to it's low carbonation and low alcohol content, which makes it very drinkable (4.5% ABV).

I liked it . . . but didn't love it.  I can't say I'd run out and grab a few but I certainly wouldn't turn one down, either.  

Check out Marston's other offerings at their website or on Facebook.

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