There Are Oysters in My Beer

After a multi-day work trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, I decided to unwind with a new beer upon my arrival home.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I was visiting my in-laws and we took a trip to the 9th Street Italian Market in Philadelphia.  As we were approaching 9th street, Red noticed a sign that read The Craft Beer Store and promptly brought it to my attention.  We made a note to examine the establishment on our return trip.  While I was not overly impressed with their selection or prices, they did have one beer I had not seen before: Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series.

The premise of the beer is certainly a unique one: incorporate oysters in the brewing process of the stout.  This beer contains oysters from my native state, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which not coincidentally is also the home of Harpoon brewery.  I feel it was my duty as a native New Englander to give the beer a go.

The Island Creek pours a deep dark black with a light sandy head.  The nose is sweet with malt and very sweet coffee notes.  After the very sweet nose, I am expecting a very malty sweet rich mouth feel.  Instead, I am welcomed with bitter chocolate that is a nice juxtaposition from the sweet nose.  The flavor expands and rounds throughout the mouth with smooth warm malts that are only slightly sweet and the finish is a slightly mineral and perhaps with a touch of salt on the tip of the tongue.  The mouth feel is smooth and drinkable without being thin.  Although, it has a relatively low in ABV of 5.5% there is just a touch of heat from the alcohol.

The Island Creek Oyster Stout won’t blow you away, but you won’t be disappointed either, this is a solid after dinner winter brew that will work well with a variety of dishes.  This subtle richness of this beer will pair excellently with a well aged gruyere, but could also hold well with chocolate dish because the 35 IBU and touch of mineral will cut through some the richness while the coffee notes will play will with the chocolate.  I will even go out on a limb and recommend this with a gamey stew.  I can see this stout holding up well against a hearty lamb.

Enjoy the flavor the oysters bring…


~ by its12oclocksomewhere on December 1, 2010.

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