Schlafly Beer will host the 19th annual Stout & Oyster Festival on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at the historic Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust). This year, the event pays tribute to the individuals who make it so memorable: the shuckers. Limited edition cans of Schlafly’s Oyster Stout will be available (at the festival only) with photographs and profiles of the brewery’s bivalve-loving buddies.
Named as one of Food Republic’s 12 Ridiculously Cool Food And Drink Fests Around The World and most-recently, one of Departures magazine’s top March events, Stout & Oyster Festival is much more than just a food or beer festival. Every year, the largest, locally owned brewery flies in almost 80,000 oysters (overnight to be the freshest possible) from both coasts and brings in 25 shuckers for the weekend. Known as the “StarShuckers,” the cast of characters work with oysters in a number of different ways outside the festival as chefs, oyster farmers, seafood suppliers and more.
Founding Brewer Stephen Hale explains, “These men and women are family at this point. We also hear from guests that they look forward to the festival for the fun, but also to see and catch up with their favorite shucker. What better way to celebrate them than to raise a beer in their honor?”
Last year, Schlafly commissioned Photographer/Blogger Spencer Pernikoff (Whiskey and Soba) to capture photos of each of the shuckers. The brewery’s marketing team selected eight shuckers to be featured on the cans–many of whom have traveled to the festival every year since its inception.
Hale says, “We had these beautiful photos, and someone jokingly said we should make baseball cards. It wasn’t a bad idea! Stout & Oyster Festival is a big love fest so we hope these cans encourage guests to collect them and meet others at the festival. Go ahead and trade them with a neighbor, introduce yourself to your featured shucker and maybe grab a photo with them.”
All shucker cans will be filled with Oyster Stout (5.7% ABV with 30 IBUs). Schlafly’s Oyster Stout was crafted with toasty flavors of oatmeal, barley and oyster broth that complement the briny, juicy flesh of the mollusks quite well. In addition to the Oyster Stout cans, they will have several bars with a variety of beers on tap from stouts such as Irish Extra Stout and Oatmeal Stout to year-round beers such as White Lager and Pale Ale. They also brew 15 stouts – some exclusive for the event and available as Stout Samplers, five, five-ounce beer samples. This year’s flavors include everything from a Maple Bacon Stout to Mango Ancho Stout.
Guests can also enjoy oysters in a number of different ways from raw from both the East Coast (Bluepoint, Beaver Tail and Bay Shore) and West Coast (Sunset Beach, Wild Cat Cove and Dabob Bay), fried, Rockefeller and roasted. Additional specialty menu items will include oyster chowder and hushpuppies.
Live music and the grand finale of the East Coast vs. West Coast Shuck Off provides entertainment for attendees. The Shuck Off features three shuckers from each coast going head-to-head in a relay-style race to shuck, slurp and then chug a stout. The fastest time crowns the winner. The full schedule includes:
Stout & Oyster Festival takes place on Friday, March 23 from 5:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Schlafly Tap Room. The festival is free to attend, and all food and beverage is available for purchase. For the ultimate Stout & Oyster experience, guests can purchase a Pearl Pass for $150 here for unlimited oysters and Schlafly beer (responsibly). For more information, visit www.schlafly.com/stoutandoyster or call 314-241-BEER.