Beer Reviews old Speckled Hen

To this day I still remember my first taste of Old Speckled Hen. My neighborhood liquor store carried it in large single bottles made of clear glass. And of course the liquor store was one of those places that keeps itself brightly lit with fluorescent lighting. So, when I got my bottle of Old Speckled Hen home and poured a glass, I should have been prepared for what happened next. I held the beer up to my mouth, took a big sip and promptly spat out the skunkiest tasting beer I’ve ever had. After a second hesitant sip, the rest of the bottle went down the drain.

I knew what had happened, of course. After sitting in those clear bottles for so long under the store’s bright lights it had gone skunky. Naturally, I never touched another bottle again until one day I saw a four pack of tall cans sitting where the clear bottles used to be. That was my cue to try Old Speckled Hen a second time, and I’m glad I did. I’ve been a huge fan of this English pale ale ever since.

When you read about Old Speckled Hen, the first thing most sources tell you is how the beer is named after a famous British sports car. More specifically, the beer was named after the car used as the factory runaround. When not in use, the car was parked outside the paint shop where it got splattered in paint. As a result the car was nicknamed the “Owld Speckl’d Un” which in time turned into “Old Speckled Hen.”

Old Speckled Hen is produced by the Morland brewery, now owned by Greene King brewing. Thankfully, Old Speckled Hen is widely available on this side of the pond. There are even a few bars where you can get the Hen on tap, which I would recommend searching out. Anyway, Old Speckled Hen is a crystal clear copper colored ale. Minimal carbonation supports a dense, off white head that doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere.

Old Speckled Hen starts out with malty aromas, a combination of caramel, fruit esters and a nice gentle mineral profile. Fruit esters give the aroma a scent reminiscent of green apples. In the finish come the hops. Hops show up with aromas of leather, peppercorns and fresh cut hay. This medium bodied ale’s flavor closely follows the nose. The flavor starts out with butterscotch, minerals, and green apples. Rounded center moves smoothly into a crisp, lasting bitterness. Finish is short and clipped, leaving you ready for the next sip.

I think Old Speckled Hen deserves a 9.07 out of 10. It’s a testament to how good a pale ale can be. Flavorful, character full, and a prime example of British restraint. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to try a classic example of the style. If you’re having Old Speckled Hen with a meal, try it with fish and chips, roast chicken, pork sausages, or pasta with cream sauce.

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