I’ve always been somewhat of a boring drinker. I’m mostly a standard old beer drinker, although i do go through the occasional whiskey phase that usually ends badly. I think the reason i’ve always just watered myself with the amber stuff is two-fold;
1. because it was the real drink i took to as i broke my ethanol virginity 2. i’m quite a fast drinker, especially the first few, so having a larger quantity always ensured i wasn’t re-ordering every 5 minutes. Oh, and i genuinely enjoy the taste of beer.
Over the last 6 months or so, i started to ditch the commercialized beer i was bored to death of in favour of beers that i’d never tried before. It’s become like a weekly thing now where i pick up a couple of new bottles to add to the collection and seeing as this website is a ‘catch all’ of sorts for everything me-related, i figured i’d start writing short reviews of these beers for archival purposes. I’m not writing with any experience whatsoever – i’m just another irish guy that enjoys the occasional beer and is now going to start writing about some of the more interesting ones that fall down my esophagus.
History Lesson:‘Old Speckled Hen took its name from an MG car which was used as a runaround for workers in the MG factory. Over years of service, the car became covered in flecks of paint, gaining it acclaim in the town and earned it the nickname “Owld Speckled ‘Un”, translated into Old Speckled Hen for the brown ale first brewed by Morland in 1979 when the brewery was asked by MG to create a commemorative beer for the factory’s 50th anniversary.’
The first thing that i notice is how annoying the gold lettering is that litters the bottle. It’s difficult to read anything in this bright room i’m sitting in and when i dull the lights a little, it’s equally as hard to read. It would have looked much better had they have just kept the black/white combo that they have on the front label. I’m not even over-stating this simply to have something to type about, i’d be annoyed if i bought this in a bar as i always like a good nosey on the label before getting stuck in. It’s just a poor aesthetic design decision to have made. Who buys beer for the aesthetics though? Let’s move on.
Colour-wise, it looks pretty much the same as any ale – kind-of coppery-brown but very transparent. Over time a miniscule fizz halo forms on top of this – it’s looks like those old monk hairdos that i think i’ll bring back into fashion soon. Nothing else to report about it’s pigmentation.
Upon opening the bottle, there was barely a whisper of a fizz anthem to get my tastebuds salivating, which was a bit of a let down. There’s nothing like hearing the death rattle of those bubbles. I wasn’t expecting the same applause as i’d get from a standard beer, but it literally did nothing. The next logical test is to have a smell. Let’s do that. It honestly smells a bit like a corona that has been left sitting for a while. I have sat here typing numerous little nasal fragrances to make it sound nicer, but i’m going to stick with the abandoned corona because that’s what my nose receptors are screaming at me. I’m still down for some of that thoigh, so it’s time to hit the palate.
I know that beers don’t tend to ‘look’ their alcohol percentage, but there was something really calm looking about this drink that made me feel like it was going to taste like a summer-day shandy – wrong. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security as this definitely tastes like a 5% drink for sure. I actually quite like it. It reads ‘malty, toffee lightly roasted’ on the shoulder of the bottle and i really do get a bit of that toffee aroma whilst tasting it. It’s not too sweet though, thankfully. I’m sure there’s a technical rationale behind this, but i actually enjoyed the beer more as it emptied even though it got warmer and flatter – the very last sip was pretty sweet indeed. I’d definitely go for another one of these for sure. It’s different enough to be memorable, too.
I’m sure many of you have tried this one as it seems to be available in most of the big supermarkets here in the UK – If so, what did you think?
Oh and don’t worry – i’ll be getting more adventurous with these reviews as time goes on [no doubt i’ll be trying Avocado & Cinnamon or something soon!].