Marston’s Oyster Stout Made with oysters, oyster shells or made just to be enjoyed with oysters?

Tasting: September 20, 2012
Style: Stout (Oyster)

Marston’s Oyster Stout

Marton\'s - Oyster Stout (c)2012 popsonhops

Oyster and stout have had a relationship since the 18th century. Oysters were the common man’s pub fare, so it wasn’t unusual to wash down a plate of the salty mollusks with the hearty roasted flavors of a stout. The two became linked like peanut butter and jelly. However, the origination of oyster stout is a little sketchy. Historians are unable to tell whether oysters were used in the brewing process or if it referred to a stout worthy to match with a plate of oysters. Regardless, brewers in the early 20th century did add whole oysters to their vats. The salty brine apparently aids in a crisp finish while the shells contribute calcium carbonate, which enhances bitterness and softens the texture. Today, there are a few stouts that are called oyster stouts and some don’t contain any oyster. This one from Marston’s is a little tricky. The brewery’s own web site says that this is not brewed with oysters. However, as you can plainly see, this label says that it is “brewed with oyster shells.” I guess someone complained about being misled.

I don’t have any oysters handy so, I’ll have to judge Marston’s Oyster Stout as a stand alone. Thinnish and really muted roasted flavors. There is a mineral flinty flavor but I’m certain that has nothing to do with the oysters. I’d call it an okay bridge stout or a gateway to bigger more complex stouts. This one is very average 75. Maybe I should have had some oysters with this one.

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