Beer #313 - Morland / Old Speckled Hen

Beer #313 - W/C 15 February 2021

BREWERY // In 1711 a 40 year old yeoman named John Morland purchased a property in the Berkshire village of West Ilsley from a maltster and built a brewhouse. The brewery stayed in the family and 69 years later John’s great grand-daughter married the owner of nearby Abbey Brewery with a marriage settlement of £5,000 being spent on making it “the largest Porter brewery in Abingdon”. After another gereration of Morelands, the two breweries merged before they bought other struggling breweries into the fold. By the 1950s Moreland’s had an estate including around 300 pubs all within 40 miles of the brewery. In 1999 Moreland’s was acquired by another English brewery which has a similar long history of aggressive growth and a huge stable of pubs, Greene King.

BEER // 25 barrels of Old Speckled Hen were brewed in 1979 to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the MG car factory which neighboured the brewery. The name came from an old demonstration car with a gold flecked paint job used as a factory runaround and known as the “owd speckled 'un”. Brewer Daniel O’Leary had developed a recipe in his garden shed which they decided to scale up for the celebration brew. It was brewed sporadically but skyrocketed in popularity nationally after legendary writer Michael Jackson declared it his Beer Of The Month in his column in The Independent in the 90s. This very traditional English Pale Ale is brewed with lots of crystal malts which are behind the malty toffee flavours that dominate. Hops may seem non existent to modern IPA lovers but they make themselves known with a touch of balancing bitterness and slight citrus. It has a dry finish making it the ideal beer to drink a few of and it pairs perfectly with traditional English pub food.

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BREWERY // Morland's
BEER // Old Speckled Hen
STYLE // English Pale Ale
ORIGIN // Bury St. Edmonds
ABV // 5%
TEMPERATURE // Cellar Temp - around 10-13C. About an hour out of the fridge
FOOD MATCH // Ploughman's Lunch. Steak & Ale Pie w. Mash. Bangers & Mash. Sticky Toffee Pudding
VESSEL // Dimpled Pint. Nonic Pint