Last week we told you about Flying Dog’s Dead Rise, the Old Bay infused beer. But did you know there is another Flying Dog flavor that also resonates with our Eastern Shore community? Pearl Necklace is the name of the brewery’s oyster stout that not only uses Maryland mollusks in its brew, but also donates a percentage of proceeds from every bottle to the Maryland based Oyster Restoration Project. What a Maryland lovin’ crew Flying Dog must be!

Now we know what you’re thinking; “oysters in beer?” Definitely a change from the fruit and spice notes we usually find on our beer tour. But when you slurp down this brew it is not like slurping down a half shell. Instead, the creatures provide only a slight briny taste to the mixture and not a full on seafood experience.

This surprising combination may have more of a presence than you would expect; in fact, Dogfish Head did their own oyster stout a few years ago. Stouts and oysters have also had a long history of being paired together so it was only a matter of time before the two were actually mixed together. According to beer historians, oyster stouts first came about in the 1800s when brewers discovered that the shells were rich in calcium carbonate. They poured their brews over crushed shells to clarify their soon-to-be-consumed beverages.

Next, the shells were added during the boiling process, adding their salty essence to the mix. And at some point in time, New Zealand took credit for being brave enough to put oyster meat into their beer.

While you are enjoying the oyster stout, you will also be supporting a local nonprofit to save the Bay. You may have already read in our ORP article how vital shellfish, especially oysters, are to our watershed. In a nutshell (or seashell-hehe) they filter water at an astounding rate, purifying the element of toxins. However due to ecological dangers, there are too few oysters left to keep the coastal waters as sparkling as they once were.

Now it is up to us to do what we can to preserve and restore our Bay. By supporting ORP, you are helping them to create oyster reefs, farm oysters to be released in the wild, and recycle oyster shells. That’s right, the best place for one oyster to get the calcium it needs to grow is by living on an old oyster shell!

Protecting our Bay is a key component to our way of life, and if we can contribute to the cause simply by drinking a beer… I think we will just have to do our part and pick up a six pack.