I adore Guinness. I’m not crazy over the canned stuff, but Guinness on tap is not existent in my neck-of-the-woods. I like to drink my Guinness like I eat my oysters, fresh. It’s funny, I never thought of eating oysters with Guinness, not until oysters became such a big part of my daily diet.
Washington is home to great micro-beers, and I like this fact. I just wish one of these local breweries would make a beer like Guinness. There’s a little redneck bar down the road that serves Irish Death, brewed in Ellensburg, WA. Irish Death is dark, smooth, slightly sweet, packs a punch, and kind of looks like Guinness. It will do in a pinch, but falls short on the mellow, creaminess scale.
We have two relatively new brew houses in Silverdale, Silver City Brewery and Hale’s Ales. A third, The Hop Room, is opening in few days. The first serve only in-house beer. I’m sure that will be the standard for The Hop Room too. Nothing offered even remotely leaves the frothy brewstache I love.
Hale’s Ales conveniently tucks into a corner of our mall and serves as refuge for men who don’t wish to sit outside dressing room doors, holding ladies’ handbags. It’s genius with one flaw. After a couple pints of Red Menace, it's hard not to honestly answer the million-dollar question, “Do my new jeans make my butt look big.”
Silver City Brewery leaves me cold. It’s loud, overpriced, and nauseatingly fashionable. The bar portion is overcrowded. I have to push aside meticulously groomed, metro Navy dudes, poured into sparkle jeans and douched in cologne heavy with limey top-notes. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a lot of hassle for a hopped-up beer. What I really crave is a reliable Irish Pub.
I visited several nice pubs in Edinburg last summer, while attending school. I’m pretty sure I earned enough credits to graduate already, but I’m thinking about returning this summer anyway. I may not need the classes, but I could sure use the beer-run. I suppose it makes more sense to jump the ferry and hit Seattle. I know of a few Guinness serving pubs on that side of Puget Sound.
So, my Guinness comes from the grocery store, and while it’s not my favorite version, I still hold it precious. Jim picked up a 4-pack for me this weekend. I drank two while watching the Packers get their asses handed to them. Only two cans remained. That’s why I argued with myself about an idea to brine oysters in Guinness and smoke the oysters on my Traeger. There is just no way to recycle Guinness after it serves as swimming pool to raw oysters. Reluctantly, I did it anyway.
I mixed oysters, Guinness, organic cider, and a good dose of homemade hot pepper sauce. I soaked the oysters overnight and sampled a couple for breakfast. Not bad, but not as good as I dreamed about last night. I think the slimy little coating on the oysters prevented the brine from fully permeating.
I read a few tips on oyster smoking and realized I should have blanched the oysters first to remove the slippery nectar. I blanched the mullosks and cracked the final can. I wasn’t about to waste the whole can. So, at 9 AM, I took a couple decent swigs and poured the rest into a mixture of local honey, hot pepper sauce, and sea salt. I’ll brine the batch for 24 hours, and toss and turn throughout the night thinking about Guinness abuse. These better be some damn fine oysters.