With the popularity of local seafood on the rise, chef Oscar Diaz couldn’t help but think about a very weird way to celebrate the oyster.
Diaz, who co-owns The Cortez Seafood + Cocktail in Raleigh with Charlie Ibarra, decided to start experimenting with ideas for beer and seafood. More specifically, to brew beer with oysters. He and Mike Morris of Crank Arm Brewing came up with an uncanny combination: a smoked oyster stout.
We can imagine something decadent, maybe. A combination of salt, smoke, and sweetness, with a touch of funk.
“Mike [Morris], the beermaster, really did his homework before making this beer,” says Ibarra. “He had never done an oyster stout before. We’re looking forward to tasting the final product.”
The team began fermentation a few days ago at Crank Arm. All of the ingredients to make the beer are from North Carolina, so it’s 100% sourced from the state. Lin Peterson of Locals Seafood provided Diaz with oysters harvested from Newport River in Morehead City, which Diaz later smoked. The hops were grown at Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro, and the malt comes from Epiphany Craft Malt in Wake County. Even the yeast is propagated in North Carolina at White Labs Asheville.
The Cortez will host a release party in about three weeks, when the beer is ready. Stay tuned for details on the restaurant’s social media.