Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beer Review: Moreland Brewing Old Speckled Hen

Going to keep rolling along today with another beer review. Craft beer is relatively new in the US when comparing to the rest of the world. For hundreds probably even thousands of years "craft" beer was produced just across the Atlantic. One of these fine beer producing countries is the United Kingdom. Quite often confused when traveling abroad we Americans may ask for a pint expecting a golden glass of piss water (thanks German immigrants and St. Louis water), but your friendly pub tender will hand you a glass of something perfected over hundreds of years of brewing. To a fault the tourist may cause a stink because the beer is "warm" and "flat" but trust me, they have been doing it a lot longer than we have so I think they know what they are doing. 

"Old Speckled Hen" was first brewed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Named after an old MG car which was used as the factory run around, they would park the old MG Featherweight Fabric Saloon outside the paint shop where it would normally get spattered in paint and so it became known as the ‘Owld Speckl’d Un’. This turned into "Old Speckled Hen" when the beer was unveiled.

Since then the finely balanced beer with a distinctive rich malty taste and fruity aroma has attracted many fans, including the fox, who is always on the hunt for his Hen.

"Old Speckled Hen" has a full, smooth flavour and is very easy to drink. Its rich amber colour and superb fruity aromas are complemented by a delicious blend of malty tastes.

Toffee and malt combine with bitterness on the back of the tongue to give a balanced sweetness. This is followed by a refreshingly dry finish.

"Old Speckled Hen" continues to be appreciated by more and more fans, who are discovering that this crafted English beer is perfect with friends, during a quiet moment of relaxation or as a complement to a meal.

Appearance: Pours reddish amber with off white head that sticks at one finger. Crystal clear with nice lacing all around the glass.

Aroma: Smells of biscuit, slight caramel, fruitness, and some earthy hop very distant. 

Flavor: Strong upfront bitterness that lingers throughout. Caramel and biscuit come through in the middle, while the bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Finishes dry with a slight bit of astringency. As the beer warms (temp it should be drank at) the maltiness and caramel are more present and the hoppy bitterness mellows making it more drinkable.  

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to medium carbonation, there is a slight carbonic bite at the end.

Overall: I really need to start reviewing bad beers because with the exception of 90 minute IPA I have overly enjoyed all of them so far. The key with this is to drink it at a warmer temperature than we Americans are used to drinking (or have our fridges set) beer at. Pour it into a pint and let it warm a little bit.  At the colder temp the bitterness lingers a little too much and the caramel is too subdued. At around 48-50 degrees Fahrenheit it is the perfect balance of malted grain goodness and hop bitterness worthy of a beer engine

***I'd like to clear up that I don't think German Lager is piss water, it's American capitalists that took a great style of beer and made it as bland/corny as possible to make a profit.

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