Shuck It. Shuck It real good!

‘I read a quote recently, from another brewer, about the relentless pursuit of perfection. They spoke of the elusive nature of perfection but how it keeps us focused and continues to spark passion. It made me think about how we look at things here at UnBarred, specifically creativity’ When we sat down as a team with Head Brewer and Founder Jordan to discuss what creativity meant to him, and us, and how that affects our beer, a flow of inspiration engulfed the room. In Brighton, the city we call home, creativity is woven into the fabric. Home to incredible street art, brilliant independent food and music, and a mish-mash of unique and incredible architecture - the landscape is everyone's muse. It’s why we set down roots here, what we strive to take inspiration from daily. The creativity of the inhabitants feeds us. 
Brewing beer is about as creative as you can get in our opinion. On a level with music, where there are just a handful of base notes but endless combinations, beer has just 4 base ingredients. Even using just the base ingredients, there are endless combinations and even the most decorated of us probably couldn’t name all the beer styles out there without checking their notes. When you start adding other ingredients into the mix, which we call adjuncts in the brewing, that’s when it can get really exciting!
When Faber, a new seafood restaurant in London, reached out about a collaboration, we got right into flexing our creative muscles. After an initial exchange of ideas, it was pretty clear where we wanted to go and we landed quite quickly on the style. A true collaboration, combining two things that both Faber and UnBarred are well known for - an oyster stout. Now bear with us here as you might think that combination odd, but oysters and stouts go together like lamb and mint, like beer and pizza, like Brighton and creativity! Oysters and stouts were a common beer pairing back in the mid-1800s. Oysters were abundant, as were stouts, and some people would even drink their stout out from an oyster shell. Like many incredible pairings, it wasn’t long before the two merged to create the oyster stout.
‘Creativity is so important to us, as is flavour. From that initial discussion we got to thinking how we can take this delicious concept and, thinking outside the box, make it the best possible oyster stout that we could’ Jordan says. ‘We already had a team of chefs for their input and, being seafood chefs, what they don’t know about those ingredients isn’t worth knowing! We had an idea and a shopping list of unique ingredients to create the flavours we wanted, and they suggested two fantastic suppliers to work with.
For the main ingredients, the star of the show, our first stop was Maldon Oyster Farm. The chefs at Faber spent the day there, seeing the whole process of oyster farming from the growing, on the estuary, to filtration and packaging. Thanks to their hard work, over 400 fresh whole oysters were on their way to Brighton. The next stop was Car y Mor, a sustainable, community-owned ocean farm with a focus on regenerative seaweed and shellfish production. Here they found some rather more unique ingredients, but just as important to creating an incredibly unique and flavourful oyster stout. Here we managed to get our hands on some Irish Moss, an completely natural and pretty rare ingredient once used for fining beer, along with some Sugar Kelp and Pepper Dulce designed to bring beautiful mineral and coastal flavours to our stout.
With the recipe locked in and the ingredients gathered, team Faber travelled down to Brighton to help us on the brew day including the very aptly named Ollie Bass, Head Chef at Faber. While the brewers were busy mashing in and the team of chefs were shucking, we sat down and had a chat with Ollie. ‘“Everything we do at Faber is about bringing the very best of the British Shoreline to our restaurant, for guests to try the very best our coastline has to offer. It’s so exciting to use these very same ingredients and ethos to now brew a beer with the team at UnBarred who are just as fanatical as we are about what they brew. It’s a match made in heaven!”. The smell of the brewery that day was incredible. The contrasting aromas of roast and the sea filled the room, along with the excited chatter of chefs and brewers keen to do right by the quality ingredients in front of them. All the ingredients we’re used in the boil for this brew, extracting all the salinity and mineral flavours, along with the sweetness of the oysters and coastal flavours of the various seaweeds.
So what does an oyster stout taste like? You’d be forgiven for shouting oysters or fishy out straight away, at the risk of stating the obvious, but that’s not what the style is about really. While they are brewed with oysters in them, shells and all, it’s the sweet and salty flavours that really shine through. Shuck It is no different.
As a brewery, we want to emulate our surroundings, but also make delicious beer too. Being creative and thinking outside the box is always part of that. We never stop inventing up with ideas on how to bring new flavours, textures, and aromas to our beers. Finding unique people to work with and exciting new ingredients to use is all part of that. Creativity is so important to us and we’re blessed to be in a city that embodies that. We hope you enjoy the uniqueness of Shuck It as much as we enjoyed creating it.