Colorado Brewed: Oskar Blues Old Chub

Each Wednesday in this column I post my insights about one of the thousands of beers brewed in the great state of Colorado. Feel free to shoot me an email with your suggestions of Colorado beers you’d like me to feature – Lee Williams at hoptopia@gmail.com – or leave your ideas in the comments.

Colorado’s craft breweries have embraced canning more than any other state in America. As of September, 2011, 16 craft breweries in the state were canning on a regular basis. With more than 50 different native canned craft beers on shelves and in refrigerators.*

The most cited reasons that craft breweries in Colorado, and beyond, have jumped on the canning bandwagon are as follows: cans are more recycle friendly than glass bottles; cans are, in the long run, more cost effective than bottles; unlike heavy breakable glass bottles, cans are travel and outdoor friendly, a quality that is especially appealing in a place as outdoorsy as Colorado.

From an economic standpoint, cans allow larger craft breweries like New Belgium more adaptability to compete with well-known offerings from macro breweries, especially in the all-important retail battleground and a world of shelf space dominance and in-store visibility.

No brewery is more synonymous with canned craft beer than Oskar Blues of Longmont. The brewery chose to can its entire year round and seasonal line-up of beers long before cans were an easy or fashionable proposition for a craft brewery. Without question, Oskar Blues put canned craft beer on the map and made it less risky for other craft breweries to release canned product.

Old Chub is one of Oskar Blues’ staples, and rapidly becoming iconic, canned offerings. It’s a medium strength Scotch Strong Ale, or Wee Heavy. The style is known for its chewy dried fruit and caramelized malt character, and for its slight peat smokiness and low hop derived bitterness. In stronger examples, the warmth of the higher alcohol content is a desired and appreciated characteristic. Old Chub has pronounced notes of cola, treacle toffee, raisin and port wine. While all that might make Old Chub, and the wee heavy style in general, sound like a cold weather only option, it’s anything but, as Oskar Blues’ year round sale of the beer will surely attest.

When pairing Old Chub with food, it’s advisable to do so with dishes that are as rich and hearty as the beer itself. Try red meat and seasonal vegetable stews, steak, roast lamb, blood sausage, heavily smoked fish, grilled salmon, thick barley or oatmeal based soups and broths. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention haggis. For dessert, few things pair more succulently with a wee heavy than a traditional British Christmas pudding dripping with warm rum sauce. Spotted Dick suet pudding with piping hot custard is another solid dessert route you could take.

The Geeky Stats:

  • Brewed in Colorado by: Oskar Blues Brewery, 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, Colorado 80501
  • Beer style: Strong Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
  • ABV: 8.0%
  • IBU: ?
  • Hops: ?
  • Grains: Beechwood-Smoked Malt, Barley
  • Special ingredients: ?

*Statistics courtesy of Craft Cans

About Lee Williams


Beer writer. Founder of Hoptopia. I write for various beer related publications, websites and festivals. Email - hoptopia@gmail.com