Harwich Brewers Use Chatham Oysters To Create New Stout

By: Tim Wood

Devil's Purse Brewing Company will hold a special tasting at Chatham Bars Inn Dec. 29 for its new Intertidal Oyster Stout, which is brewed with Chatham oysters. COURTESY PHOTOS

It's not usual for folks to have a few oysters with their beer. But what about oysters in their beer?

A couple of Harwich residents are brewing up a special batch of holiday stout with Chatham oysters as the special ingredient.

Devil's Purse Brewing Company's new Intertidal Oyster Stout, which will debut at a tasting event at Chatham Bars Inn Dec. 29, is enhanced by oysters from the Chatham Shellfish Company, the town's only commercial oyster farm. Adding the shellfish to the mix “definitely enhances the complexity of the taste of the stout,” said co-owner Matthew Belson, who lives in Harwich.

With no fishy or “oystery” aftertaste, he added.

Six dozen Chatham oysters in a mesh sack are added to the boiling wort – beer before it ferments into beer. The oysters cook in the brew, said Belson, but its the minerals, such as calcium, that leach from the shells and the salinity from the oyster liquor that enhance the taste of the final product.

This is the second batch of Intertidal Oyster Stout that the South Dennis brewery has produced. The first round in September used oysters from the East Dennis Oyster Farm; future batches will use oysters from other Cape locations, said Belson.

“Folks who appreciate oysters know that oysters in Wellfleet taste different from oysters in Chatham or Dennis,” he said. “We're trying to capture some of the locality of the oysters in the taste of each batch.”

“With each batch of our Intertidal Oyster Stout we hope to feature shellfish from different growers around Cape Cod and tweak the recipe to compliment the character of the different oysters,” added co-owner Mike Segerson, a Harwich resident.

Chatham Shellfish Company raises oysters in Oyster Pond, and is the town's only commercial oyster farm. Stephen Wright, the company's general manager, said the idea of using oysters to brew beer intrigued him when he was approached by Devil's Purse.

“This is certainly a fun and unique way to promote Chatham shellfish,” he said.

Playing around with ingredients is “part of the fun of brewing,” said Belson. The brewery, opened about a year and a half ago, features three year-round beers and a number of rotating and seasonally available brews.

The oyster stout will be available at local pubs and at a special holiday beer and oyster tasting event at Chatham Bars Inn on Dec. 29, which will feature Intertidal Oyster Stout and a raw bar staffed by Chatham Shellfish Company shuckers. A $10 charge covers the initial beer and oyster tasting. The inn's Sacred Cod Tavern will feature dinner specials created to pair with Devil's Purse beers.

Belson said Intertidal Stout will also be available at the Devil's Purse brewery at 120 Great Western Rd. in South Dennis for tasting and in growler and 32-ounce cans. The brewery is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 23 and 30, from noon to 8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For directions and more information visit devilspurse.com.