What We’re Reading: Oyster Stout, Brettanomyces, December Highlights, Beer Cocktails and Orange Liqueurs

December 28th, 2012 — 4:40pm

Getting To Know Oyster Stout, A Beer Made With Oysters – Food Republic
Oyster stouts could easily play the part of just another wild concoction stewed up in the modern heights of craft brewing madness. However, they’ve actually got honest, time-tested roots going back more than a century to Victorian England, when many pub-goers ate oysters on the half shell while sipping their favorite beers. Often, these were stouts, whose bittersweet toasty flavors happened to complement the briny, juicy flesh of the mollusks quite well. For a time, in fact, “oyster stout” was simply a term that referred to a pub session at which oysters were slurped between sips of beer. Read more!

Brettanomyces, a Funky Yeast, Makes Flavorful Beers – New York Times
Mr. Yakobson, 28, who studied winemaking before founding his brewery, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, in 2010, treats Brett like an old friend, pointing out that it was common in beer before the advent of modern sanitation in the late 19th century. He prizes the hints of tropical fruit, earthiness, spiciness and, yes, funkiness that it lends to his beers, which include an herbal India pale ale, Belgian-inspired saisons and sour ales reminiscent of Belgian lambics. “It’s an entire new category of beers,” often called wild or Brett beers, Mr. Yakobson said one afternoon as he stood among old wine and spirits casks and elephant-size barrels called foudres. Read more!

Highlight Reel: December – Liquor.com
So before start ringing in 2013, make sure you haven’t missed any of our recent articles. Here are five of the best cocktails-and-spirits features from the past month. Cheers! Highlights include, leftover libations, how to mix spirits and chocolate, punch up the holidays, spirited cooking and piping hot cocktails. Read more!

Peeled and Delivered: We’re finally getting the hang of orange liqueurs – Tasting Table
We avoided orange liqueur for a long time. Save for the occasional batch of Margaritas, our bottles languished on the shelf, held hostage to a reputation tarnished by overly sweet snifters and neon-blue drinks. But our feelings are changing, thanks to bartenders who are thoughtfully incorporating orange-flavored products–both new and classic–into drinks. We’ve come to love newer-to-the-market products like Combier Liqueur d’Orange ($32) and Pierre Ferrand’s curacao, both of which are calibrated for mixing. (Try the former in a Sidecar and the latter in a Rum Crusta.) The real darling of the cocktail menu, however, is Licor 43 ($40), a Spanish import that has recently risen from obscurity to heavy rotation at all of our favorite bars. Read more!

Brooks: Beer Cocktails – Bay Area News Group
Many people reach for Champagne or sparkling wine to celebrate New Year’s Eve, but there’s a growing trend in another bubbly direction: beer cocktails. Originally, a cocktail was just one type of mixed drink, a subset of the genre, such as a julep, flip, swizzle, fizz or toddy. Several cocktail recipes were included in the 1862 “Bar-Tender’s Guide,” and the term took on its more modern meaning over the next few decades. But it was Prohibition that really led to a surge in popularity of the cocktail. With no legal alcohol to serve, speak-easies had to make do with illegal hooch. Mixing bathtub gin with sweeter, more flavorful additions made the booze more palatable — and probably more profitable. Scarcities during World War II nearly killed off the grander cocktails, making way for simpler mixed drinks — gin and tonic, for example, and rum and cola. By the 1980s, classic cocktails were nearly as dead as good beer. But, like many artisan revivals of recent decades, the cocktail has undergone a major renaissance. One of the many innovations of this resurgence is the beer cocktail. Here are just a few examples, both traditional and modern, to whet your appetite. Read more!