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Company Brews Beer with Lobsters and Sea Salt

The Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle, Maine, has come up with a brand new brew that combines two of the state’s summertime favorites – beer and lobster. The offbeat lager, called ‘Saison dell’Aragosta’, is made by cooking live lobsters in unfermented beer.

‘Aragosta’ is Italian for lobster or crayfish. The name was chosen to honor Giovanni Campari, the brewmaster of one of Italy’s finest breweries, Birrificio del Ducato. According to Tim Adams, co-owner of Oxbow, Giovanni travelled all the way to Maine last summer to work with him. The duo initially wanted to brew an “esoteric German beer that was low in alcohol and used wheat along with barley.” They wanted a tart and acidic flavor profile, with salt playing an important role. But the evening before they set to work on the new brew, they happened to eat lobster rolls for dinner. That, instead, proved to be their inspiration.

“Giovanni turns to me and says, ‘We gotta put some lobster in the beer we’re brewing,’” Adams said. “I was slightly taken aback and hesitant, but I couldn’t say no to him. The guy traveled all the way from Parma to Maine.”

lobster-beer

Photo: Yelp

Although Oxbow has never used unconventional ingredients before, Adams agreed to go with Giovanni’s idea. They decided to use the crustaceans for a salty flavor profile, and added some Maine sea salt for added effect. “We got the lobsters from the lobster pound and put them live in a mesh bag, and suspended that bag into the kettle of boiling wort – that’s the term for beer before it’s fermented,” Adams explained. “We cooked the 12 lobsters until they were done, and then we pulled them out and we ate them.”

“I grew up in Maine,” he added. “And I’ve eaten plenty of lobster. But this was the best lobster I’ve ever had in my life.”

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Photo: Oxbow Brewery/Twitter

For the second batch, Adams and Giovanni used only the shells of the lobsters. Adams described the taste of the beer as “a balance between the sweetness of the lobster, the sharpness of the acidity, and the salinity of the salt.”

About 3,000 bottles of the lobster beer are currently available at the brewery in Newcastle, at their Portland store, and in select bars and restaurants in Maine.

Sources: Boston.com, WMUR