Mama Deltoid threw me quite a curve ball in my Christmas 6 pack beer basket with this one: a stout brewed with oysters. That’s right. Apparently stouts and oysters used to be quite the popular combination in the UK. And Flying Fish out of Somerdale, New Jersey has proudly decided to include this stout in their “exit” series.
When I saw the label, an uncontrollable, tornadic assembly of questions and ideas flooded my brain like a World War I Morse code distress signal. “Are there oysters in the bottle?” “Did they dump oysters in the tank during the boiling process?” “Were oysters floating in the fermentation tanks?” “Were they raw oysters?” “Will this be salty?” “Will this taste like seafood?” “Will this be slimy?” “Is this possibly a novelty/prank beer meant to be gross?” “Will it taste like the first box I ate?”
Actually, now that I reminisce about the first time my tongue bunglingly tangoed with the holiest of pink satin holies, the first box I ever ate tasted like those soggy, warm pretzels you can buy from a street vendor in Philadelphia.
I don’t know the extent to which oysters were incorporated into this brew, but Flying Fish made quite an audacious move just by putting the words “brewed with oysters” on the label. It’s likely to turn off even some of the most daring beer enthusiasts. Well, folks, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news regarding Exit 1. The good news is it doesn’t taste like oysters. The bad news is… it doesn’t taste like oysters.
I truly wanted this brew to have a discernible oyster flavor. I love oysters (cooked or raw). The salty, bitter, metallic flavor of those slimy little sea boogers pleases me, and makes perfect sense as a compliment to a malty, smoky, chewy stout. Nevertheless this is still an excellent stout and it does have a tiny hint of saltiness to it. Up front it’s very malt heavy with cocoa, currant, and salt. The strength of the flavor is right where it should be for a 7.5% ABV stout. The liquid looks as you’d expect: jet black, with a fairly thick, caramel head. The aroma is particularly interesting because it smells like a sour ale with a little bit of malt and dark chocolate. And the sour aroma does not make any appearance in the flavor whatsoever. The aftertaste is malty, chocolaty, and carries a strong bitterness, which is excellent due to the balance of the malt. The lacing is fairly thick on the goo as well. A few foamy splats are all that are visible from a distance, but a closer look reveals a surprisingly resilient, syrupy, glassy lacing. Its texture is excellent; it’s light to medium with low carbonation and a slightly creamy feel.
If you’re driving through New Jersey along the famous New Jersey Turnpike, take an exit if it leads you to this beer. It deserves a chance. I only wish it tasted more like oysters. That would be interesting and likely quite tasty for someone like me who enjoys that flavor. Maybe the next time I’m in New Jersey I’ll have this stout with a couple dozen raw ones… and a soft Philly pretzel (but only if she wants to relive the fun days of our youth).
Foreign/Export Stout Brewed With Oysters
IBU: 45 (my best guess)