TMS Beer Project: Old Speckled Hen

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though.  Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:

Old Speckled Hen

Brewery: Greene King / Morland Brewery,  Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Type: English Pale Ale
Recepticle: 12 oz. bottle

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 7 - The Hen is good stuff.  Not overly hoppy for a pale ale but a nice strong maltiness with a subtle caramel flavor makes it a smooth sipping beer.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 5 - While probably not for the meek Bud Light crowd, Old Speckled Hen is still formidable enough for the casual beer drinker.  The beer pours out a nice copper/amber color with a good amount of head.

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea):
6 - at 5.2% ABV it's gonna get you drunker than an evening of PBR would.  After pounding two I was left with a happy buzz.

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Bob Hoskins, Lingering Bursitis, John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): $$$ - I won't give it the four dollar signs, but I will say this is the most I've dropped on a six pack of beer in a long time.  Of course the price may just reflect how little people drink this particular beer in the heart of Middle America.  "Old Speckled WHAT?!  Shit boy, just get me a 12 pack of Busch Light before I put my Winston out on your arm again!"

Overall: 7.5 - My initial experience with this beer was sketchy.  I had just bought a six pack of it and eagerly opened my first bottle, poured it into a glass and noticed something was horribly amiss.  The beer had poured out flatter than an Olsen twin.  Given how much I spent on it I was pretty pissed off.  I was going to take it right back to the store and demand my money back.  Of course laziness prevailed and the beer just sat in my fridge instead.  About two weeks went by and I was craving an alcoholic beverage.  Fresh out of wine coolers* all I had was the Old Speckled Hen.  "Maybe that bottle was a fluke," I told myself.  At the very least I could be a complete degenerate and choke down some flat beer.  I cracked open a new bottle and lo and behold the beer poured out to the most glorious head I've seen since The Brown Bunny.  In fact the remaining 5 beers were perfectly fine.  I must've just gotten one that wasn't sealed right or something.

I originally picked Old Speckled Hen on a recommendation from a couple of fellow TMS bartenders when I asked about good English beers.  Overall I would have to agree with their suggestion.  The Hen is a good all-around beer that you can sit and enjoy one or two while playing FIFA '07 on the Xbox (With Portsmouth I played Arsenal to a 1-1 tie), or pound a bunch with some buddies sharing stories about 'Nam.  It gets extra credit points for the bottle.  I mean look at that thing.  It commands your attention and respect.  Actually it kind of reminds me of one of those shitty colognes like English Leather or Stetson.  Do I drink it or splash some on my neck.  Hell, why not both?


*Wine coolers?  Yeah right, who do you think I am, Chaim?

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