Fordham Brewing Company - Rosie Parks Oyster Stout
- ABV: 5.4%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 26.3
- Serving Temperature: 50-55º F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Caramunich III, Torrified Wheat, Carafa Special, Pale
- Hops: Bravo, Glacier
Originally just a term for the stouts served alongside oysters in English pubs, “oyster stout” has evolved as a style over time. 19th century brewers began using crushed oyster shells as a clarifier, but eventually they began adding the shells to the beer as it boiled—imparting a slight salinity and minerality to the beer. At some point early in the 20th century, some brewers started adding whole oysters to their stouts, but Fordham brews their rendition in the former way, with just the shells. This deep, dark, brown colored brew offers up aromas of deep caramelization, lightly roasty hints of chocolate, hints of brown sugar, and dark fruity esters, all overlaid with a strong, earthy, Glacier hop character. On the palate, look for notes of heavily toasted bread, a moderate char, mild coffee grounds and bitter chocolate. Do the oyster shells add anything? Perhaps a very mild mineral, saline impression. Naturally, a traditional pairing with oysters is a sure bet: raw, grilled, or fried. Cheers!
In 1703, England’s Queen Anne commissioned Benjamin Fordham to begin a brewery in America, in her namesake city of Annapolis. As the port city grew, so did the popularity and demand for Fordham’s beer, and he secured a position in the history of the region, becoming one of the city's first aldermen. Sadly, when he passed away in 1716 the brewery was shut down.
For nearly three centuries, the Fordham brewery remained closed. Or should we say, on hiatus? The Fordham name was resurrected in 1995 with the establishment of a new brewery by William Muehlhauser and Jim Lutz. In researching the history of Annapolis area breweries of days gone by, Lutz, currently the company president, discovered the story of this once famed brewhouse. As he puts it, “I just went back to see what breweries existed in Annapolis and ran across this Fordham Brewery. I contacted the Fordham family and asked them if we could resurrect their great-great-great-grandfathers name. The family was happy to oblige.”
After five years of strong growth, they moved to a larger facility in Alexandria, VA, and three years later they had outgrown that building too. Fordham’s brewing and bottling operations moved to their current facility in Dover, DE in 2003. In 2007, they formed an alliance with Old Dominion, and the two breweries now operate unified at their location in Dover. For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours call (302) 678-4810 or check out their web site at www.fordhambrewing.com.
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