As beer pairings go, few are more classic than the briny oyster and the heady stout; the two have been matched since the eighteenth century, when the beer was first made. Sometime in the early twentieth century, beermakers began crafting their stouts to pair with oysters -- or using oysters in the brewing process.
That history became the impetus behind a collaboration between Odell Brewing Company and Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, which is celebrating Oyster Month all March. "Oysters and stout have been this amazing pairing for centuries," spokeswoman Bryce Clark explains. "So we thought, why not put oysters in the stout? It's not the first time it's been done, but the idea definitely got our attention."
Because Jax recently opened a Fort Collins location, the team turned to local breweries in that town to help put the project together. And early in January, the staff from that restaurant headed to Odell, where they worked with brewers to make the Emersum Oyster Stout, a stout brewed with real oyster bodies and shells.
To make the beer, the group added 25 pounds of oysters -- shells and all -- to the batch, dumping half into the mash and half into the boil. They documented the process on video, too.
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So what does adding oysters do to the beer? "You're not going to really taste it in the flavor," Clark explains. "But it enhances the mouthfeel of the stout. The calcium from the shells gives the beer extra body." Probably good news if you're grossed out by the idea of mollusks in your brew.
The addition of those sea creatures should also make the beer a particularly excellent choice to sip while slurping oysters, too.
Odell will release the beer in the tasting room this Thursday at 2 p.m. at a party that includes a crab boil. During the festivities, the brewery will also give away a chance for a drinker to help brew the second batch of Emersum, slated to go into the tank on March 2. If you can't make Fort Collins, though, all three of the Jax Fish House locations will tap the beer at 4 p.m. on March 8 -- and they'll be pouring it for the duration of Oyster Month.