Cape Cod Times
Brew, oysters take center stage at Cape Cod Beer’s fest
The oysters are coming to Hyannis on Saturday, and the beer crafted with oysters from all over the Cape will be there as well.
Cape Cod Beer is re-releasing its Shucker’s Reward Oyster Stout as part of the first “Shuck! A Day of Oysters & Beer, ” taking place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Cape Cod Beer, 1336 Phinney’s Lane in Hyannis.
The new event celebrates local industries and entrepreneurs with an afternoon of entertainment, food and drink, and a dash of education besides.
The festivities promise a tasty selection of Cape Cod oysters and locally brewed beer, plus live music from the band 57 Heavy and opener Chris Parkin, all musicians boasting local roots.
Amanda Kaiser, marketing manager at Cape Cod Beer, touts the local nature of the event: “We wanted to highlight the oysters that come from all across Cape Cod,” she says. The oyster farms Big Rock Oyster and Cape Cod Oyster will operate raw bars throughout the afternoon, shucking and serving a variety of the world-famous bivalves that originate in our local waters.”
Eight varieties of oysters will be served, all grown in the Cape towns of Dennis, Yarmouth, Brewster, Orleans, Barnstable and Falmouth. Kaiser emphasizes that the shellfish vary considerably in texture and flavor depending on exactly where they’re raised. It’s due, she says, to the salinity of the water, geography of a particular growing site and the type of water flow in any particular area.
The inaugural “Shuck!” event will give oyster fans an opportunity to savor the many subtle flavors. She says variations in taste are “part of what inspired the idea (to showcase) oysters that come from different towns, all during one event.”
In addition to oysters, the Barnstable Association for Recreational Shellfishing will serve clam chowder. Foods trucks will sell fare for those who are not seafood eaters.
Shuck! is being held a week after the Wellfleet Oysterfest, which draws about 20,000 visitors during its three-day run each October. Organized by the nonprofit S.P.A.T. (Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc.), the lower Cape event began as an educational harvest festival and grew to include entertainment, a 5K race, restaurant samplings, shucking contests and more.
Kaiser says Shuck! is a chance to build awareness of the diversity of oysters grown in waters around the mid- and Upper Cape, extending to Falmouth.
Along with several other varieties of its own custom brews, Cape Cod Beer plans to re-release its Shucker’s Reward Oyster Stout. Kaiser explains that some of the stout’s flavor is due to more than 20 pounds of locally-sourced whole oysters, which are encased in a mesh bag and added to the water during the boil phase of the brewing process. The calcium in the shells, she says, alters the pH of the water the beer is brewed in, adding to the stout’s character and flavor.
Equally important, according to organizers, is the event’s educational component. Cape Cod Community Media Center and Barnstable Channel 18 have created several short videos, titled “Movers & Shuckers,” that will be shown on continuous loop throughout the day, helping illustrate the importance of the oyster to the region’s economy and ecology.
The footage captures the Cape’s lush natural marine surroundings and the farming process, zeroing in on the people who work the shellfish grants and run the Aquacultural Research Corporation hatchery in Dennis. It describes the outsize economic impact this industry has on the peninsula, generating overall industry-related revenues that in 2017 were worth $30 million to the Cape Cod economy, according to Melissa Sanderson, chief operating officer of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, on the video.
These numbers emphasize how oyster cultivation is a boon to the Cape’s economy – to shellfishermen and farmers, scientists, wholesalers and restaurants, and how it enhances tourism and local consumer purchases.
Oysters, says Kaiser, add to health and happiness in other ways, too. An event exhibit created by the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition will show how the oyster population helps maintain water quality by consuming nitrogen and phosphorous that can pose a danger to marine ecosystems. Kaiser says “a single oyster can filter 50 gallons of ocean water a day,” helping keep the waters clean. The calcium that helps make up the oyster shells also helps neutralize the ocean’s acidity.