If you were to look through the photos on my phone you would know a couple of things about me – I really like beer, I really like cheese and my dog is very cute. Another thing I really like, but don’t indulge in as much as in used to, is freshly shucked oysters.
I get my oyster fix from one man – the King of Oysters, Jerry Fraser. If you know Jerry then I don’t have to say anything more, you already know that he is one of the nicest people on the planet. If you live in Perth and like oysters but have never met Jerry then I’m staring at you with my mouth open in sheer surprise. I have also put links to the left so you can pay Jerry a visit for the best oyster experience of your life.
A great read from last year by The Food Pornographer – When an oyster hater met the King of Oysters
These days Jerry spends much of his time at The Print Hall in Perth’s CBD, right in the heart of Brookfield Plaza, aka where the majority of Perth’s new bars spung up a couple of years ago. Here you will find Jerry at his shucking bar with all you need to indulge your oyster fetish.
My partner and I visited The Print Hall on Friday night and happily pulled up a bar stool at Jerry’s oyster bar. We had come straight from dinner at Mt Lawley’s Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting, a delicious meal that I was very tempted to follow up with some cheese however my craving for cheese flew out the window the minute I saw Jerry. I had a new craving – oysters and porter.
“One can almost imagine the beer as the knife that cracks the oyster open – there seems to be a primal connection between them. The flavour of the oyster is magically magnified and fills the senses”
Garret Oliver, The Brewmaster’s Table
The Print Hall pour all the Colonial Brewing beers since they are owned by the same folk, this also includes The Raffles in Applecross and East Perth’s The Royal on the Waterfront, so it is always nice to go in and get a pint of one of my favourite Margaret River beers.
The Colonial Porter is stupidly smooth, like Barry White kinda smooth with light roasty flavours that flirt with chocolate and coffee, all held together by a soft malty sweetness.
The smoothness does not stop with the beer, the oysters almost creamy texture is divine and it’s briney, salty nature melds so nicely with roasted flavours.
“This isn’t some newfangled foodie gimmick,”
Adam McDowell, National Post: Why you should pair oysters with stout this St Patrick’s Day
It is interesting to think that this pairing is actually a very traditional English/Irish combo. Oysters were once in abundance in both England and Ireland and considered the food of the working class, a pretty far cry from today’s associations with luxury and indulgence thanks in part to their now limited supply. Also considered to be for the working class were porter beers which, as the story goes, were so named after their popularity amongst London porters, men employed essentially to carry heavy things from point A to point B. Being the working class in England in the 1700s looks rather appealing if they had oysters and porter on hand 24/7, that is of course ignoring the scarlet fever, typhoid and other nasty diseases that probably killed you at age 20.
Moving away from the traditional stout and porter pairing the beer world is still, if you’ll forgive me, your oyster for matching to oysters. A saison, a gueuze and even a bold IPA are all suggested in this great article from Serious Eats along side some suggestions for those who might like their oysters fried or grilled. Further, I found this oysters and porter article on nytimes.com with a recipe for fried oysters if you feel so inclined.
However, if you’re anything like me the you’ll love the indulgence of ordering a dozen freshly shucked oysters from the best man in the business and sitting at the bar with your only concern being what beer to choose next …