Little Skookum Inlet
Little Skookum Inlet, South Puget Sound, Washington
Little Skookum Inlet Oysters are Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from South Puget Sound, Washington. They are available from September through May. They are raised in the bag to beach method where they spend most of their lives raised in the rack and bag method and then spend the last six months of their lives toughening up on the inter tidal beach. This strengthens their shells, making them less brittle and also firms up their meat. They are medium plus size ranging from 3" to 4" and their shells are firm and not brittle. They have a well-formed cup with a sandy gray to bone polished look with the depressions and edges covered in dark green algae. The light cool brown meat fills the cup nicely with about 20% remaining for the liquor. The tentacles are green-black and the gills are dark brown. These oysters are farmed less than a quarter mile north of the Barron Point Oysters and a comparison of the two oysters showcases the term terroir (or meroir for the marine verision of terroir). The Little Skookum Inlets are more directly in the flow of Little Skookum Inlet and the fresh water lowers the salinity slightly. The Little Skookums have just a hint of brie and have much stronger vegetal notes with seaweed, mushroom, a dash of cucumber, some butter and some meaty bone broth. It evokes a mushroom chicken wild rice stock. There is a hint of iron and some olive in the finish. The flesh is firm and meaty and the abductor is crisp, a little chewy and has some nutty notes. the body has a very pleasant mouthfeel that reminds me of Creme Brule. The salinity is low - around Gose levels and the umami is medium high.
I am washing these down with a Crooked Stave Vieille Artisanal Saison. The beer's carbonation and oaky notes reset the butter-umami and gets you ready for more. The beer's tart citrus, lemon spice flavors contrast well with the oysters sweet salty flavors. The oyster character brings out the Saison yeast flavors in a very pleasant way. Both the beer hand the oyster have a hint of mineral and they pair very well together.
I finished the Little Skookum's off with a Clown Shoes Space Cake Double IPA. Space Cakes starts out sweet and gets bitter near the end. The bitterness is a little intense with the oyster but the beer's cakey notes go very well with the oysters' sweetness and mild saltiness. After the oysters get through the bitterness, the beer brings out the buttery-ness of the oysters.
The Crooked Stave Vieille makes a more elegant pairing with the Little Skookums. The Space Cake is a little intense but still makes a passable pairing. I rate the Vieille pairing 4.5 out of 5 and the Space Cake pairing 3.5. I rate the oyster 83. 8-22-18