Red, White, and Brewed | Saison dell’Aragosta: Brewed with Lobsters and Sea Salt
The use of strange beer ingredients is nothing new. Breweries have made beers using hemp, pizza, prairie oysters, beard yeast and various other odd and sometimes not-so-palatable ingredients. But, recently the Oxbow Brewing Company decided to make a beer using live lobsters and sea salt to create the most New England beer ever. The only thing missing is from their Saison Dell’Aragota is the sandy after taste.
Oxbow was founded in 2011 and is an American farmhouse brewery specializing in traditional Belgian-style ales with contemporary American influence. “We brew small batches of beer in a renovated barn in rural Newcastle, Maine,” says Tim Adams, Owner and Director of Brewing Operations at Oxbow Brewing Company. Oxbow’s beer can be found in fine bars and restaurants throughout Maine, Vermont, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC.
Photo: Oxbow Brewing Company
Saison dell’Aragosta was brewed in collaboration with Birrificio del Ducato of Parma, Italy. “It is a gose-inspired farmhouse ale brewed with live Maine lobsters and sea salt.” The flavor profile is tart and funky from the extended mixed fermentation of brettanomyces and lactobacillus and it is balanced by a subtle briny sweetness from the lobster and the salinity of the sea salt. “It is a balanced beer, but certainly leans more toward dry/tart/salty than sweet.”
Saison dell’Aragosta means “lobster season” in Italian. Aragosta is technically not what you would call Maine (Atlantic) lobsters, but we took some poetic liberty I suppose.
Giovanni Campari (brewmaster of Birrificio Del Ducato) and Adams were already planning on brewing a gose-inspired farmhouse ale and the night before brewing. “We went to Eventide Oyster Co in Portland and he was smitten by the lobster rolls… he asked if we could use lobsters in the beer and I couldn’t say no.”
The beer isn’t actually made with lobster water, the lobsters are actually boiled in wort.
“The lobster adds a subtle briny sweetness and perhaps a touch of funk and salinity.”
Foods to Pair it With
Photo: Getty Images
“The best pairing I’ve had yet was with Duckfat’s crab sandwich,” says Adams. Seafood would be an obvious choice for this beer style even if it didn’t have the lobster in it and Adams suggests pairing it thusly. “The beer is delicate enough to pair with sushi, but also has enough acidity to cut through the oils of fried seafood.”
This isn’t the only unique beer that Oxbow makes. “We make many other tart, funky and delicate beers, as well as an assortment of fresh and hoppy farmhouse ales.”
To completely understand everything that Oxbow is about, Adams suggests taking a road trip to visit the brewery. They have two locations. One is in Newcastle, Maine and the other is in Portland. “Each has a tasting room with beer to-go.” If you’re looking for an end of the summer road trip, a stop at Oxbow might be worth to say that you tried lobster beer alone.