Food Liquids

Review: Old Speckled Hen beer

A 20 oz. pint glass of Old Speckled Hen, seen on a picnic table during a less snowy time of year.

In the beer industry, where the name of your product almost matters as much as its taste, Old Speckled Hen stands out as having a particularly eccentric, oddball moniker. It’s a silly name, but you’re not going to forget it. That’s handy when it comes time to order a pint at the bar.

The Hen comes to us from England’s Morland Brewing, a brand that now belongs to Greene King Brewery. As for the name, the official Old Speckled Hen website says it was named after an old car at an MG factory that was spattered in paint, and was known to workers as “the Owld Speckl’d Un.” Which naturally leads to Old Speckled Hen. Right? Never, I repeat, never doubt the veracity of beer marketing materials.

Some tasting notes:

  • Malty, with a some sweetness at the beginning. A bit of toffee, both on the tongue and in the nose.
  • Nice amount of hops. Fairly bitter, without being all that spicy or floral. The hops are clearly there, but they don’t stand out.
  • A bit rubbery in the finish. Aftertaste has a slight hint of grass to it. Not quite sure I like that.
  • Smooth, easy to drink. Not too fizzy.
  • Not my favourite English beer, but still pretty good.


Cost: $12.49 per four pack of 500 ml cans.

Value for money: Not bad at all. Works out to about $3.12 per can. It’s in line with what other similar beers cost, though I could get a four-pack of a beer I like more for the same price.

Origin: (Merry olde) England

Beerish power: 5.2% a.b.v.

Social standing: You’ll raise a few eyebrows if you order it from the beer menu, at least in this part of the world. It sounds exotic and strange, properties that are subsequently transferred to the person ordering said beer.

Would I drink it again: Yes, I’d fancy another, thanks. But it wouldn’t be my first choice, my second choice, my third choice, etc.

The verdict: Not bad, but not spectacular. Middle of the road. The name is better than the beer itself.

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