Attention, Oyster Lovers: Port City Is Brewing Bivalves Into Its Beer

The mollusk-enhanced Revival Stout debuts in April.

Bivalve-brewed Revival Stout. Photograph by Anna Spiegel.

Port City founder Bill Butcher’s latest project, Revival Stout, is a collaboration with Dave Svec and Brad Blymier of War Shore Oyster Company. As Butcher tells it, the War Shore guys—who farm Pungoteague Creek and Battle Creek Oysters in Virginia—approached the brewery after noticing that its products were often available at the same restaurants where they were delivering oysters. Beers and bivalves are frequently paired, so they thought, Why not get them in the same glass?

“Oyster stouts”—dark beers that incorporate oysters in the brewing process—have their origin in the early 1900s British Isles. For Revival, oyster shells are steeped in the brewing water, and then the oysters and liquor are included in the boil, where they essentially disintegrate in the process. So how does it taste? There’s a hint of salinity from the bivalves, but there’s no seafood flavor. What’s left is a rich, savory brew with a smooth texture, perhaps best matched with a raw-bar platter or smoked fish. It will be available on draft beginning April 6—at the brewery for tasting or by the growler, and at select spots around town.

Update: There’s a pre-release party at Pearl Dive/Black Jack on Saturday, March 17, from 2 to 4. The beer will be served alongside 2,000 freshly shucked War Shore bivalves. 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.