Back with more holiday beer! And for tonight’s review, I have decided to take in the latest limited release from the Lighthouse Brewery, which just happened to be their Desolation Sound Oyster Stout. As the name might suggest, this is a rather interesting and unique contender, an imperial stout made from 10 malts and a full shuck of Okeover organic oysters that were harvested directly from Desolation Sound.
And in truth, I kind of avoided this beer for many weeks, thinking it was just a little too experimental for my taste. However, it came highly recommended from a trusted source who works at my local beer store, who compared it quite favorably to Parallel 49’s Salty Scot. Between that, and Driftwood’s recent Gos-uh brew, there really hasn’t been a shortage of local beers that incorporate sea salt. And I had no complaints about any of them.
And as promised, the end result was quite pleasing. In addition to possessing all the proper qualities of a fine, well-rounded and strong stout, the addition of oysters provided a certain briny, smoky texture that was actually quite complimentary. And what resulted from all this was a very smooth beer with a supple mouthfeel and a varied flavor profile – one which ranged from salty and sweet to smoky and bitter. And at 9.3% alc/vol, it also provides a strong alcoholic kick, but one that manages not to overpower the taste.
Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich stout malts, hint of smoke, briny, salty backbone
Taste: Smooth, sweet malts, mild licorice, hint of smoke, espresso, hint of saltiness
Aftertaste: Lingering licorice and espresso malt, smoke and salt
Salt and beer… not something we North Americans tend to think of as being entirely natural. And yet, it is surprising how many styles of beer incorporate sea salt in order to effect a varied, balanced flavor. But it does serve to remind us just how diverse and varied the art of beer making is. Until next time!