Ryan Smith of Signature Oysters has been growing Katama Bay Oysters in Martha's Vineyard's Katama Bay since 2006. Katama Bay has a sandy bottom five to seven foot tides and full ocean access. Ryan grows the oysters in off bottom cages and uses a wind powered tumbler to tumble the oyster shells during the growing season before the oysters are sold, giving the oysters a deeper, rounder cup and plumper, firmer meats.
The oysters average 3" long with an oval to teardrop shape and have above average cup depth. The oysters have a smooth, polished tumbled look. The cups and caps are bone colored light brown with an algae green wash that gets darker in the low spots and around the edges. Katama Bay Oysters have a big tidal pool smell with seaweed salt and sea creatures.
Katama Bay Oysters are salty - potato chip levels - with medium high umami and mushroom and a little sweetness on the finish. I had the oyster with both a Sixpoint Citrus Jammer (4.0% alcohol by volume) - a Leipzig style Gose brewed with sea salt and lemon and lime juice and a Tin Whiskers Wheat Stone Radler (a wheat beer blended with Tin whisker's house soda). The Oyster's saltiness highlights the saltiness in the Gose while the Gose's lemon and lime brightens the oyster. The lemon and lime in the beer also bring out the umami and mushroom flavors in the oyster. The Lemon Lime Gose pairs very well with the Katama Bay Oyster.
The Tin Whiskers Wheat Stone Radler is sweeter than the Sixpoint Gose and brings out the Katama Bay Oyster's sweetness more. With the Gose, the beer interacted with the oyster. With the Radler, the oyster leads and interacts with the beer. The oyster gets an 84, the oyster-gose pairing gets and 82 and the oyster-radler pairing get a 78.