Fans of oysters, beer and live music can look forward to the inaugural Red Clay Oyster Fest, Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Red Clay Brewing in Opelika from 6- 9 p.m.
Red Clay Brewing Company, The Depot, Mobile Oyster Company and John Emerald Distilling Company are putting on the event to benefit the Alabama Coastal Foundation. It will feature some of Red Clay Brewing’s craft beers and Mobile Oyster Company’s Isle Dauphin Gulf Oysters.
The idea came from John Corbin, founder, owner and head of marketing and sales for Red Clay Brewing, as he was sitting down for an oyster dinner at The Depot.
“We’ve got a great partnership with the Alabama Costal Foundation and when I was having dinner with my business partner,” Corbin said. “I said ‘why don’t we do something with The Depot, we come here all the time for oysters anyway.’”
Ever since that dinner, Corbin began connecting with representatives from the participating companies to begin organizing the event.
Oysters will be the featured food item of the evening, some of which will be provided by the Mobile Oyster Company. They will be providing the fresh, half-shell oysters for the oyster bar that will be a main feature at the event.
“We’re bringing farm-raised, primum oysters for half-shell consumption,” Dr. Andrew Duke, director of special projects for Mobile Oyster Company said. “Half-shell oysters are raised and harvested, they are selected for their shape and size. They are cleaned and kept under temperature restrictions. They are the best premium oyster product you can consume.”
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A new prepared oyster dish that The Depot executive chef Scott Simpson will be trying out Tuesday night is an oysters Rockefeller pizza.
“One of our signature dishes at The Depot is oysters Rockefeller,” Simpson said. “I thought about the spinach and the white cream sauce and all these things that are in there and I thought that would be a perfect pizza topping with oysters on it.”
Simpson said he will also be preparing a michelada oyster shooter, an oyster dish served in a shot glass, with Red Clay’s beer in the shooter, and grilled oysters.
“We serve tens of thousands of oysters [at the restaurant] and we get quite creative with the ways we try to present them to the guests,” Simpson said. “That is really the inspiration for this event.”
The event will benefit the Alabama Costal Foundation and its oyster shell recycling program, said Mark Berte, executive director of the Alabama Coastal Foundation.
“The big value from our perspective is to help people learn about our coastal environment,” Berte said. “This is national estuaries week, starts Saturday (the 15th) and goes through the next Saturday (the 22nd). So educating people about the importance of caring for our estuaries.”
This is the first Oyster Fest for Red Clay. Tickets can still be purchased online or at the door for $30 a person.
The cost of the ticket includes a dozen gulf oysters specially prepared grilled or raw by chefs from The Depot and two drink tickets. The event will also feature live music from Dallas Dorsey, a local musician based in Opelika.
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