In the early days of New York City, New York Harbor was home to 350 square miles of oyster beds—roughly half the oysters on the planet. The oysters lived quietly beneath the waves, filtering and cleaning the waters around us. Locals and visitors alike happily devoured them from dockside carts and in fine restaurants, brewed beer with them (yes, really– they were particularly prized in stouts and porters), and used the shells to improve street drainage. Sadly, centuries of overfishing and pollution laid the mighty oyster low, and the beds lay empty.
But in true New York fashion, the oysters are making a comeback. Billion Oyster Project is an ecosystem restoration and education project with the mission of restoring a sustainable oyster population and reigniting a passion and appreciation for New York Harbor by engaging New Yorkers directly in the work of restoring one billion oysters to our waters. They’ve already grown 16 million water-cleansing oysters and are re-introducing New Yorkers and our visitors to the city’s harbor and waterways.
In support of the project, we’re reviving the once-common oyster beer in our Billion Oyster Saison. It’s a pale, bright farmhouse ale with 20 oysters per barrel adding just a whiff of fresh sea breeze. The proceeds from this beer go to support the good works that BOP are doing and the environmental education of school children. The oysters in Billion Oyster Saison aren’t NYC oysters, but with your help, some day they can be. In the meantime, try the Double Oyster—a pint of Billion Oyster Saison and a dozen oysters. Oyster karma is awesome too.
For those of you taking notes, here’s the vitals on Billion Oyster Saison:
Hops: Challenger, Styrian Goldings, Aurora
Yeast: Our House Belgian Ale Yeast
Additions: Whole oysters
OG: 10.6° Plato
Format: Draft only
Availability: Very limited