Pearl Necklace (@FlyingDog)

Have you ever had a peanut butter, ham, and mustard sandwich? Neither have I, and I won’t. Sorry Chris Cooley but that combination is so God awful that even I won’t give it a try. That’s saying a lot coming from someone who lived off of frozen burritos and ramen for years in college. The point here is that some flavor combinations are not meant to be. Take risks, but brace for total failure.

The Flying Dog Brewery takes risks and produces several kick ass beers. The brewery was started in Colorado but is now in a state of the art facility in Frederick, MD. One beer they create has one of the most interesting ingredients I’ve ever seen in beer; Oysters. With the help of Rappahannock River Oysters and Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen the brewery was able to create Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout; a great beer helping a great cause. Part of the proceeds goes to the Oyster Recovery Partnership, a partnership that is working to restore oyster populations to the Chesapeake Bay. Originally meant to be a limited-release, you can now get this Stout year round.

Stout beer was originally a generic term for the strongest beer produced by a brewery, the actual beer produced was a Porter. You can debate whether Stout is its own beer style or a subset of Porter. In my opinion it belongs in its own category. Over the years I have had Irish, imperial, oatmeal, chocolate, milk, and dry Stouts. There is too much variety to hide it under the Porter style. Stouts get their dark color and flavor from roasted malts or barley. General taste descriptions of Stout are roasted, chocolate, and coffee like flavors.

The Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout pours a light, tan head on top of an almost black beer. It has a moderate body and sweet malt flavor with little carbonation. It’s a mystery that this beer does not taste fishy and salty. Instead I would describe it as balanced. Not too complex and not too simple. I would recommend this to beer drinkers who are afraid to get into Stouts due to the overwhelming taste, texture, and alcohol content of some other offerings. Naturally this beer would pair nicely with seafood, specifically shellfish. I recommend a more rustic dish, grilled or blackened, as opposed to sautéed and served over pasta.

Save the Bay! Have some great beer too!

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