I’d Tap That: Old Chub an enticing introduction to dark beer for skeptics
Glassware: Old Chub is best served in either an English tulip pint glass or a traditional nonic pint glass. It is also suitable for a dimpled English pint glass, especially if you are receiving the beer in a traditional English pub.
Description: Old Chub pours a hazy mahogany brown with a ruby hue and a creamy tan head that hangs around leaving a layer of lacing on the glass. The aroma is most certainly malt forward with hints of roasted malts up front and cocoa, coffee, dark fruits, and a touch of smokiness present as well. Upon the first sip, the incredibly smooth body cascades over your palate and seems to calm both your palate and brain instantly. The taste follows the nose with a veritable malt bomb hitting the palate. Strong notes of toasted malts, cocoa, toffee, caramel and a touch of smoked malt intermingle throughout this beer. While the hops are not front and center, they add a touch of earthy note. The full body and moderate carbonation give this beer a silky smooth drinking experience. Old Chub is a great beer to give to friends who claim to not like dark beers; it offers a wonderful roasted malt experience with balance and incredible drinkability.
Food pairing: The juicy sweet malts in Old Chub make it a dream to pair with a wide variety of meats. Try pairing this with roast beef or lamb, the light hopping and nutty sweetness really enhance the natural sweetness of the meat while melting into the flavors and textures. Game birds also make a wonderful pairing with this beer, after all it is off Scottish tradition and game birds are plentiful in Scotland. Pheasant, partridge and quail are especially good matches. The natural flavors of the meat have hints of the bird’s diet, which consists of nuts and berries that are highlighted by the dark fruit hints and sweet nutty malt profile of the beer. Venison is also especially tasty with Old Chub, especially when it is topped with a tart cherry sauce. This is also a beer that can happily find its place on the dessert table and goes well with crème brûlée and, of course, Scottish butter shortbread cookies!
The Final Word: Oskar Blues was one of the first craft breweries to begin putting their craft beer into cans. They have also paved the way for great beers, especially those from a can. The brewery has a variation of Old Chub on nitro, also in a can, and the nitro truly imparts a very smooth, easy drinking experience, making a delicious beer even better. While the Scotch Ale style may not be one that is typically sought after by craft beer newbies, it is a style with a rich tradition and is full of flavor. This is a beer that is excellent for a chilly early spring evening and one that will certainly make you think twice about “not liking darker beer.” Old Chub is a great beer that really opens your taste buds up to how great beer can be, regardless of style.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Oskar Blues Brewery
Beer: Old Chub
Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy