TAPS reaches far into the past to create innovative new oyster beer.
‘Primordial Pearl,’ an English-style oyster stout, is brewed with 1 million-year-old oyster fossils and fresh oysters. Combining two of its signature items, craft beer and oysters, the brewmasters at TAPS Fish House & Brewery have created a 15-barrel batch of an English-style, full-bodied stout with a hint of brine. “Primordial Pearl” has the unique distinction of being brewed with 1-million-year-old fossilized oyster shells provided by a winery that sits above San Luis Obispo on an ancient oyster ridge just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
Fresh oysters and a dash of oyster liquor were also used in the brewing process to create a medium-bodied, jet-black stout with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and a smooth yet roasty finish. The oyster stout, which has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 6 percent, pairs perfectly with oysters, steamed mussels, Dungeness crab, cioppino, and TAPS signature sourdough bread, as well as steak and lobster.
Primordial Pearl was brewed at TAPS’ original location in Brea and is expected to last 10 to 12 weeks, according to David Huls, director of brewery operations, and Kyle Manns, brewery operations manager. It is also on tap at the TAPS locations in Corona and Irvine.
The duo are on a mission to add special selections to TAPS’ popular lineup of craft beers. Huls and Manns say the fossilized oyster shells contributed minerals to the brewing water that enhanced the attributes of the finished product.
“We put minerals back into the water for every beer; we just did this one naturally. Oysters also add calcium to the brew, which helps with a nice mineral profile.”
– David Huls, director of brewery operations
Oyster stouts have been around for a century, but are not common. Traditionally, an oyster extract was used to make this unique beer, but modern brewmasters add oyster shells or the meat – or both – to the mash or the boil. The owners of Ancient Peaks Winery, Margarita Vineyard and the historic Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita provided the fossilized oyster shells that make Primordial Pearl a truly unique find for beer lovers. TAPS President Chris Snyder is a longtime friend of the family that owns the winery.
TAPS, famous for its tantalizing food and award-winning beers, is a major purveyor of oysters. Its flagship location in Brea Downtown houses the largest oyster bar in Orange County.