Harviestoun‘s story begins in the early 1980’s when Ken Brooker began home brewing and sharing his creations with his friends. The feedback he got was positive as more friends clamored to attend his beer nights. By 1986, he’d decided to go pro and began the work of building a brewery from the ground up. Like many breweries of the time, investor money was hard to come by as banks weren’t keen on loaning people money to start breweries when small breweries were going out of business or being snapped up by bigger breweries. Harviestoun started life cobbled together from whatever used equipment, such as wool dying or jam equipment, the team could get a hold of at reasonable prices.
Fortunately for the fledgling brewery, their first beer, Harviestoun Real Ale, was a success. In fact, it was so successful that customers were demanding new beers to compliment the Real Ale. More beers followed. By 1989, sales were so good Ken could afford to actually buy real brewing equipment. Harviestoun’s success continued, eventually enticing an American importer, B. United, to take their beers to the new world.
One year later, Old Engine Oil was added to the lineup. OEO quickly became a favorite and the base for the barrel-aged beers: OEO Special Reserve and Ola Dubh. At various points, it’s been called a Black Ale, a Dark Beer, and a Porter. The US label still says Black Ale.
Appearance: Opaque brown/black, tan/brown head, ok retention.
Aroma: Burnt malt, molasses, cocoa, toffee, espresso, dark fruit.
Taste: Malt bitterness, cocoa nibs, molasses, burnt toast, ash.
Overall Impression: This beer is all about the dark malts and let you know that with a long, bitter dark malt finish. This is another example of some good and creative beer coming out of the British Isles. If you’re a fan of dark beers, add this one to the list.
Availability: At bottle shops carrying beer imported by B. United International.