Freshly shucked oysters and beer go hand-in-hand like milk and cookies - but a beer actually brewed with the slimy, salty delicacies and their liquor?
It was a go yesterday for Harpoon Brewery and Island Creek Oysters. The Boston beer maker teamed with the Duxbury oyster farm to produce the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout.
Not to worry, drinking the beer won’t be like downing an oyster shooter, nor will there be an intense oyster flavor, according to brewer Katie Tame. The oysters are poached in the heat of the liquid during the brewing process and disintegrated.
“All those proteins boost up the body of the beer, and an increased protein content adds head retention, which is great for the stout,” said Tame, the first female brewer for the 100 Barrel series that started in 2003.
“A lot of the oyster quality - be it the brine or actually the oyster itself - will blend with the darker malts,” she said.
The expected result is what Tame describes as a full-bodied beer that’ll be a bit sweet, with lots of roasted flavor, “bready, biscuity” flavors from the malt and a little dryness at the finish.
The collaboration with Harpoon was the first of its kind for Island Creek Oysters, said owner Skip Bennett.
“It’s really exciting because it’s . . . a great, small local company that has the same passion for their products that we do,” he said. “We have a lot of similar customers.”
At the brewery yesterday, his shucking crew made quick work of the oysters harvested that morning from Duxbury Bay and dropped into the brew kettles.
The Island Creek Oyster Stout, the 30th beer of the limited-edition series, will be bottled in two weeks. It will be available next month in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at retailers and restaurants including Boston’s Eastern Standard, B&G Oysters, Neptune Oyster and the Union Oyster House.
Eastern Standard bar manager Jackson Cannon was on hand to watch the brewing process.
“I just wanted to be able to say that I saw the oysters going into the beer myself,” he said. “I was down right from the start. We do 1,000 oysters a week, and our No. 1-selling oyster is Island Creek, and our No.1-selling beer is Harpoon IPA.”