Life as a writer who routinely reviews beer, spirits, and outdoor and travel gear for many fine publications (Paste included) means you often get things sent to you, unsolicited, by PR agencies hoping to strike a bit of coverage. So, when I received notification from my condo receptionist that I had a box of live lobsters waiting in the office, it struck me as odd…but not entirely out of the question. However, I suspect the receptionist—a life-long resident of DC—was thrown for a loop if the profusion of question marks and exclamation points at the end of her email was any indication. Blue crabs are ubiquitous in the region this time of year. But mail-ordered shellfish from New England? That’s odd.
Mind you, my father used to buy live lobsters at the Boston airport and bring them back whenever he returned from some random business trip, which we’d boil and consume. This fostered a life-long love of lobster. So to me, the arrival of live lobsters resonated as something both possible and exciting. If only I could figure out why they showed up. I had visited Maine a few years back. And I spent some time in Rhode Island last summer. And I did meet one of the owners of Legal Seafood while on assignment in Boston…
I rapidly reshuffled my dinner plans, biked home to our new house, and then drove over to the condo (which we’re in the painful process of selling) to pick up the package, which did indeed pronounce that there were live lobsters from New England inside. No movement was detected. Wouldn’t they be on ice? A bit sluggish? I ferried the cache home, and elected to open it up on the back patio, half-expecting some sort of crustacean/kaiju hybrid to burst out once I cut the tape on the cardboard box.
Instead? Packing foam. Lots of it. And underneath it, not lobsters at all. But beer with a lobster proudly displayed on each of the four 16-ounce cans. It seems some PR agency got creative with the packaging, and probably gave the receptionist a whole new window into the weird world of one of the building resident’s unusual mail-ordering habits.
Thankfully, the beer in question helped soothe any disappointment. The beer hails from Rhode Island’s Narragansett Brewing, a region that thrives on lobsters and other seafoods. The Fresh Catch Blonde Ale was crafted to accompany that first lobster meal of the season, dry hopped with Citra to deliver a bite of crisp grapefruit and a welcome aroma of citrus and passion fruit. At only 4.2% ABV, it’s very sessionable, and the bright beer helped cut through both my disappointment at not having lobster, and the dense humidity that covered DC that particular spring evening. It also paired perfectly fine with my leftover Thai. But it would’ve been a whole hell of a lot better with some freshly cooked lobster bathed in drawn butter.
Of course it seems that this will require me to order some lobster on my own. Thankfully, there are services that provide, even with free shipping. Take that, Amazon.