Shelling Suds

Oysters are the secret ingredient in your beer

Oysters are undeniably having a moment.

Their popularity doesn't stop at the table, however. The oyster has been a part of beer-making since the 18th century. And the tradition has been resurrected of late, albeit in an updated capacity.

Historically, the shells were added to stouts for their calcium as much as for their taste. Now beer makers are adding whole oyster bodies to their brews, which results in a finished product with richer flavor and texture.

At New York's John Dory Oyster Bar, diners can enjoy ice-filled platters of raw bivalves with a pint of proprietary oyster stout brewed in collaboration with nearby Sixpoint.

In Massachusetts, oyster farmers at Island Creek supply Harpoon Brewery with their harvest for a limited-edition stout. The brew is surprisingly light in body, with a touch of salinity, and is served at Island Creek's new Boston restaurant and oyster bar.

In Oregon, Upright Brewing Co. has just released its second batch of oyster stout, to which whole Hama Hama oysters are added, imparting a creamy and bright texture.

And the takeover continues with cocktails: At Los Angeles's District, chef Kevin Napier offers a mezcal cocktail shooter: Spiced with horseradish, it hides a single Kumamoto oyster at the bottom of the glass.