Every year in our Unafraid of the Dark III series, we craft a beer that makes a fair number of people say ‘what did you put in the beer???’. The first year we brewed a Bacon Porter that the meat lovers seemed to embrace (but turned off a few vegans.) Last year we crafted a Chocolate Beet Stout that several folks were very hesitant to try, reckoning back to the days when they were served metallic beets from a can. Luckily for us, our customers are always willing to give things a go. (And, luckily for our customers, we don’t believe in canned beets 🙂 ) As a result, in the vast majority of cases, we can turn a beet cynic into a, well, beet drinker!

Which brings me to this year’s ‘what did you say you put in that??’ beer – the Oyster Stout. I’ve been wanting to make an oyster stout for years – ever since trying the version brewed by Harpoon. To me, an oyster stout really hits the sweet spot of what I love in a beer- roasty, dark, highly drinkable, great with food, and, great to share with a loved one! Yes, we used real oysters in this beer, but, no, the beer does not taste like oysters. In fact, I bet most people wouldn’t detect that it contains several dozen beautiful creatures from the sea. What we do hope you detect is how tasty this beer truly is!

Ok, let’s get down to how we made the beer… Last year when we decided to make an Oyster Stout, we hoped that we could use local oysters. As a result, we were delighted to learn through our friends at NH Community Seafood that they could obtain local oysters from us! So, this past November, we bought from them 4 dozen oysters harvested by Fat Dog Shellfish company (Great Bay, NH).

The oysters were beautiful! And I was very excited to get going on the shucking process.

Fat Dog Oyster

Big a** oysters from Fat Dog!

I have to tell you, shucking oysters looks a lot easier than it is! It took me an embarrassing amount of time to get the oysters open, but it was super rewarding – the oysters were wonderfully fresh and juicy.

Fat Dog Oyster Open

What the shuck! These oysters are hard to pry open!

I then froze the oysters with the brine as well as the shells (in a separate bag.) Fast forward a few months, and Annette made a nice American stout base and put the oysters plus the shells into the boil.

oyster shells going into the boil

Shells about to join the boil

We then removed the oysters from the boil, rinsed the hops from them, and Chris fried them up to make oyster po’ boys (as shown in the picture at the top of the page). When we get a bigger system, we will definitely have to share the fried oysters with more of you. They were amazing!

Here are some other tasting notes:
– Appearance: This beer has a really rich black / brown color with a minimal head that dissipates very quickly.
– Aroma: You get a nice salty / brine-y aroma on the nose, complemented by a deep roastiness.
– Taste & mouthfeel: The body is on the lighter side of a stout. As I mentioned above, it doesn’t taste like oysters, but the beer has a very pleasant briney aroma and taste. It is, however, reminiscent of the Chaga Porter that we made last year – due, I think, to some earthy notes in the beer.
– Pairing: Try this beer with some oysters. If you don’t have oysters lying around, the beer goes well with a nice steak. We also find it great to sip for dessert as is!
– Stats – ABV is 5.5%

The Oyster Stout will be available starting this week.  Cheers!