Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Murky Pearl

February is stout month at Ft. George. Instead of just promoting their own fine brews, they also have some hand selected offerings from Oskar Blues, North Coast Brewing, and Deschutes. For a measly $12, you can enjoy a taster tray with a Bourbon Barrel Cavatica Stout, aged in Wild Turkey Barrels; Coffee Girl Stout, the regular Cavatica Stout; a cherry flavored stout that goes by Bada Bing Stout, and their take on an oyster stout with Murky Pearl. Outside the George offerings are Deschutes Abyss, North Coast's Old Rasputin, and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.
The beer I want to focus on for this post is the 7.8% Murky Pearl. I will admit, before I heard that Upright and Ft. George were making oyster stout, I was totally unaware of the style. I am sure like anyone else unfamiliar with it, it sounds..well..disgusting.
Long ago, oyster shells were used as a fining agent in beer. Oysters were also, and still are, considered to go very well with beer. Well, some adventurous brewer obviously put the two together, and mollusk flavored beer was invented. One has to wonder, was there ever a crab beer? Clam beer? History is full of failed beer experiments I am sure. But as we all know even bad beer will get you drunk, so is it ever really a failure?
Back to the Murky Pearl.
In the words of Ft. George..”we ran the wort through 3 buckets of Willapa Bay Oysters. We let the oysters sit in the wort until they started to pop open infusing the beer with the briny oyster juice.” Of course, I have to wonder what those oysters tasted like after being infused.
The beer, for the uninitiated, does not taste like oysters. The only hint of this fusion is a slightly, pleasant salt aftertaste. The body is slightly sweet, a little oaky, with hints of licorice and cherry. It is heavy, full, and complex. It was my favorite out of the eight we tried. It eclipsed my former selection of stellar stout from the boys on Duane street, Coffee Girl. Last years was monumental, and worth the drive to Astoria. This years, unfortunately, had a over powering coffee taste making it bitter, and difficult to enjoy.
So, oyster stout..what the hell. We have smoked beers, chili beers, mango beers, and seaweed beer. If it’s good, and not deadly, why not? It tasted great, and I am eager to try Uprights Oyster Stout.
Kudos to Ft. George.
For more info on oyster stouts, and especially Upright's Release, check out this link to the New School.

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