New Hampshire Seacoast Companies Partner For ‘Swell’ Oyster Stout
When the two Seacoast companies first partnered last year, things were different.
The absence of a global pandemic afforded Stoneface Brewing Company the opportunity to join Swell Oyster Company on a trip to the ocean, a window into the art of oyster harvesting. It also allowed Swell, which is based in Hampton, to observe the creative process at Stoneface's Newington brewery.
The result: an oyster-infused beer.
However, just one collaboration wasn't enough. Stoneface and Swell are at it again, and this time they're producing an oyster-infused stout.
"We did a gose before and right before COVID-19 we were going to do pairings and have oysters available in (the tasting room)," Pete Beauregard, co-founder and head brewer at Stoneface, told Seacoast Current. "That was a german-style sour and we were really happy with it. Now, the second one is this oyster stout that we have now."
Beauregard said that although their latest creation is a bit of a "novelty beer," oyster stouts have been around for quite some time.
"This is all somewhat speculative because there isn't a lot of documentation on it," Beauregard said, "but what we think we know is that brewers would have hot, unfermented beer and then pour it over oyster shells to extract the calcium carbonate out of the shells. This was thought to help clarify the beer when it was done fermenting.
"But they also found that calcium carbonate helped offset the acidity of some of the darker malts, so it kind of rounds out the flavor profile. We understand how to adjust acidity and mineral profiles, so we think the oysters help give you some briney-ness and give you some mouth-feel as well."
Beauregard added that the beer does not taste overtly of oysters, and that if nobody told you it had been brewed using oysters you likely wouldn't know.
For Russ Hillard, a co-founder of Swell, the partnership represents the closeness of the Seacoast community.
"The partnership with Stoneface has been awesome," Hilliard said. "It really brings two unique industries together and shows that you can create something really cool. ... I think community is everything. People definitely gravitate toward feel-good stories and this is two hard-working companies coming together to create an awesome product."
Stoneface is currently closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Beauregard hopes they will be able to re-open the tasting room as well as resume curbside service next week.
The collaborative brew, aptly named "That's A Swell Stout," will be available at Stoneface in-house and via curbside ordering when the brewery receives the clearance to re-open.