Flying Fish Brewing Company is in New Jersey, and poor Jersey seems to take pretty frequent comedic beatings. So, I decided that every beerbecue review of a beer from New Jersey will henceforth include something nice to say about New Jersey.
In 1876, Thomas Edison came up with his most intelligent, but unfortunately unpatentable, idea: leaving Newark. (Oops. The nice stuff is next.) He set up shop in Menlo Park, NJ, and in 1877, invented the phonograph. Sure someone else might have eventually invented it, but the point is that a New Jerseyan did it. And without the phonograph, we wouldn’t have turntables, records, CDs, DVDs, Blu Ray, the music industry clinging desperately to non-digital forms of music…
I got Exit 1 in eager anticipation of Port City Revival, an oyster stout coming out in early April. Lately, oyster stouts seem to be a “thing” in US brewing (likely related to our obsession with throwing weird-ass stuff in our beer). But the idea of oysters in and around stout is not new, as they have been paired together (particularly in the UK) since at least the 18th century. And by “paired”, I mean something like, “Oi, cunt, ‘eres yer stout. Wan some oysters w’ it?”
In the brewing process, the oysters are used to varying degrees. Some use the whole damn oyster, some just use either the shells or the oyster itself, or, as with Marston’s Oyster Stout, they use no oysters at all (I guess it’s just a suggestion). In any case, the oyster stuff disintegrates completely during the brewing process (it’s cool, they don’t have a central nervous system), and you are left with anything from increased body derived from the extra protein to a slight mineral-y or briny character. If your oyster stout actually smells like oysters, I would advise you against drinking it.
It pours nearly black with a nice-looking, dark tan head. It smells like a nice, drinkable stout: Pleasant, but not powerful, chocolate and roasted malt, with a hint of coffee floating around. In the taste, the roasted malts and coffee come to the front, with baker’s chocolate playing the supporting role. Toward the end, there is a slight, unidentifiable fruitiness (maybe from the Irish yeast) and some bitterness; but the bitterness seems to be from the roasted malt, rather than any sort of hop character. Then it finishes dry, with some of the aforementioned bitterness hanging around to coat your mouth, almost like Guinness Extra Stout (not the stuff with the divisive widget). It was medium bodied, and there was a slight creaminess to it. I didn’t catch any brine or oyster tears. Perhaps it just beefed up the body a bit.
I liked this beer. Usually, I like my stouts to be a little creamier, a little bigger-bodied, and with a little hop bitterness cooperating with the roasted malt bitterness, but this was solid. I would get another, especially to see how it went with oysters, but not until I try some others (particularly Port City’s upcoming oyster stout).
The Haybag: I was on the DL this night, but I should note: Oysters be nasty.