There is little as fulfilling as giving a well-deserved gift to someone. It can be an intimate experience – the sort of thing that brings people closer together. Sometimes, if it’s the right gift, it may be the first time anyone has given it to the recipient of your choosing. Sometimes it’s commonplace in their world, yet appreciated all the same. Such can be the case with a pearl necklace.
I’m speaking of course about the jewelry, so you’re free to remove your mind from the gutter whenever you please, or leave it there. After all, when it comes to this beer, much like a pearl, sometimes one must go digging for clams…or oysters, to find just the right one.
Okay, I’ll admit that last double entendre was a bit weak. To be honest, I’m amazed I made it that far with them. But before us we have another beer from what, for a variety of reasons, is becoming one of my favorite overall breweries – Flying Dog. Here, replete with the tongue in cheek name and original artwork of none other than Ralph Steadman, we have a Chesapeake Stout, brewed with oysters rather undoubtedly from Chesapeake Bay itself.
A style I have written about in the past, the oyster stout is something of an odd bird in the world of beer. Not odd perhaps to the more seasoned drinker, but as mentioned before in respect to the 21st Amendment Marooned stout, it is the sort that the average or uninitiated beer drinker may be a bit wary of without proper opportunity to try and enjoy it for what it is.
Starting out, this brew is quite naturally black as bay at midnight, with a soft and minimal off-white head and a thicker overall body and composition. Smelling of rich malts and a somewhat salty character, the nose in a complex and riddling sort of thing that could both entice and ward off at the same time. Once the beer hits the lips however, uncertainty – at least for my part – is cast aside as the mingling notes of stout-y malts and the curious brine and salt of its oyster origins roll along, offering successive waves of complimenting flavors, all presented in balance and accord with one another.
In truth, the most notable part of this beer I feel may be its overall subtlety, with no particular flavor in any real way overwhelming the others. Though the malt, the bitterness, the brine, the salt and the hints of a darkly roasted grainy texture are all obvious enough to notice, none particularly dominate. For that, I am especially grateful.
Flying Dog is a brewery which while seeking to make solid beers that are true to style, such as this, isn’t afraid to push the envelope in a time when the perpetually offended and self-righteously outraged seem consistently to get their way. First standing up and defending their Raging Bitch Belgian Style IPA against the throws of puritanism in the Michigan government and then, not giving even half, let alone two shits when outrage porn bloggers from places such as Deadspin or Vinepair kvetch about how offensive their Pearl Necklace stout is, they stand as a hallmark of the beer world’s resilience in the face of the offended and irrelevant. Good on the lot of you – both for the beer and for not giving an inch to people who are never happy.
So to Flying Dog, to the Pearl Necklace Stout and of course, to you I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
Read more beer reviews from Goroff by clicking through the gallery below.