Blue Hill Bay
Maine's Blue Hill Bay is 14 miles long with protected waters and is an important crab, lobster, salmon and mussel fishery as well as oysters. Harbor seals breed on its shores. Blue Hill Bay Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) are started in Salt Pond, a tidal salt pond, 4.4 miles east, and finished off in the cold, nutrient rich Blue Hill Bay and jostled about by the bay's robust 11' plus tides. In the Bay's cool waters the oysters grow slow, requiring 3 to 4 years to reach market size.
The oysters are 2.5" to 3" long with medium cups. The meat fills about two thirds of the cup with the with the liquor filling about half of the rest. The oysters are round to oval with fairly smooth cups with a polished bone to light beige background and darker brown marking the growth ridges. The meat is dark beige to light tan with light to dark brown gills. The oysters smell moderately brackish with a slight woodsiness. The liquor has a sea salt level of salinity and a mild meaty flavor. The meat tastes salty with bacon, meat, and a trace of cucumber and some seaweed and umami. The saltiness is above average but balanced by the rich meatiness. The texture is meaty but gets a little stringy and membranous near the finish.
I am drinking a 56 Brewing Wizard Mode, an American Imperial IPA with rich fruity hop flavors supported by a rich malt backbone. The oyster's mineral saltiness brings out the beer's bitterness - like Burton Salts while the fruity hop flavors reinforce the meat flavors of the oyster and also eke out some traces of fruit. The beer's malt pulls out some smoky notes in the oyster meat.
The oysters lose some points for texture but make up for most of it with their flavor. I rate the oysters 80. The beer and the oysters go very well together. I rate the pairing 85.