Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Aww Shucks: Harpoon Oyster Stout

Harpoon Brewery / Oyster Stout

English Stout: 5.50% ABV

Grade: B+

When has a bartender ever asked, “Are you allergic to shellfish?”

Well if you are ordering the Harpoon Oyster Stout, it’s a prerequisite.

This salty sud was boiled with 180 oysters pulled from the Duxbury Bay to create Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout, bottled on Feb. 5.

Sidebar: Depending on which group of friends I am with, they would be surprised I could taste this brew without breaking out in hives. TRUTH: I don’t like seafood. I have tried almost every kind out there, REALLY, I have. So normally I say I am allergic to fish avoid the rhapsody, “No – but try this, you will really like it, really – try it,” – I’VE TRIED IT, I DONT LIKE FISH! I digress…

SO, I was happy to learn that while the Oyster Stout smells like the inside of a seashell, it does not taste like fish at all AND I got to have this beer straight out of the brewery tap. Does it get any fresher than that?

It pours dark with a frothy head that coats your mouth. After a glass, I felt like I was at the beach all day – water please! The Oyster Stout is full bodied and salty with burnt caramel and mocha flavors. It’s delicious, but more than one would have been tough to get through.

I would imagine that this beer would pair much better with food, paella being my recommendation. Yes I’ve tried it.

After chatting up with the brew master I learned that oyster stouts are big in the UK. Their water is “thinner”, which is great for making lighter beers, but it lacks the minerals needed to create stouts and lagers. They use the minerals from the oyster shells to create depth and body in their beer.

Harpoon is tipping their hat to the UK and they did a pretty good job. If you can get your hands on it and you are not allergic, (or fake allergic) give it a shot or in this case, give it a pint.

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