Most of us can’t help ourselves; when we hear the word Scotland, our pop-culture-riddled brains immediately jump to Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons or to Mike Myers playing his own father in “So I Married An Axe Murderer.” I prefer to think of the lovely – and recently departed from Doctor Who – actress Karen Gillan. Willie and Mr. Mackenzie are fine examples, albeit amplified stereotypes, of Scotland I suppose, but young Miss Gillan… I believe Thumper called it being “Twitterpated.”
Point is I find her to be akin to today’s beer, Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil, in a sense. The two are elegant and refined, representative of all that is beautiful and, largely, unknown about Scotland. Case in point, did you know that there was an amazing beer called Old Engine Oil? If you weren’t a Doctor Who fan, would you even know who the heck Karen Gillan is?
There’s so much more to the country north of England than whiskey, kilts and horribly smearing their consonants. And never mind the haggis; I’m talking about some of the world’s best beer. In the case of Old Engine Oil, we’re taking some time to appreciate what Beer Advocate’s Alstrom Brothers and top beer historian Michael Jackson consider one of the top ales ever.
Brewed with a ridiculous amount of roasted grain, Old Engine Oil has the benefit of massive flavor without the heavy texture of a stout. A carefully-considered recipe of pale malt, deeply-roasted grain and oats combines with a hop content a bit brighter than what the usual British ale typically exhibits to give us a thoroughly balanced beverage. Drawing its name from the Ford engines he helped design, founder Ken Brooker’s formula remains unchanged since 1985. This exceptional porter is nearly jet-black with an off-tan head that leaves behind abundant lacing. The nose is massive with heavy hits of espresso roast, dried dark cherry, chocolate and molasses. Use of Worcester Fuggles hops amplifies the anise/black liquorice note usually found in porter. Beyond that there’s wonderful bruleed sugar, roasted malt and milk chocolate to go with the cream-in-your-coffee flavor and texture.
Old Engine Oil is something to swoon over, much like the afore-mentioned redheaded lass with the adorable face and cute brogue accent. Someone find me my passport… think I need to go discover what else Scotland is hiding.