As part of my exploration of Golden Ales, I’m moving on to ‘Old Golden Hen’ brewed by Greene King – but labelled Morlands.
I’ve already reviewed a couple of Morland’s ‘Hen’ brews for The Brew Club, ‘Old Speckled Hen’ and ‘Old Crafty Hen‘ come to mind. Morland’s beers were originally brewed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, but in 2000 production was moved to Greene King’s brewery in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
So, while investigating golden ales for The Brew Club, and realising that I couldn’t find ‘Old Golden Hen’ ale locally, I dropped Steve a line. Steve’s now Managing Director, and sure enough, a few days later the beer pixies delivered some samples for me to try on your behalf. Thanks Steve!
Old Golden Hen is brewed using pale malts and the Tasmanian Galaxy hop, the first British Beer to incorporate that particular hop, and I suspect that that imbues the brew with a very, very specific flavour. More of that shortly.
It pours a golden colour, almost a peachy gold, with a bright white head and a refreshing pour sound. I’ve noticed this on only a few brews, and it’s difficult to describe, but when you get that ‘rushing’ sound as the head forms, it usually means you’re in for something rather special.
And rather special it is, the initial flavour is slightly peachy, with underlying hints of citrus, ginger and – here’s the flavour that surprised me – Laksa leaf! – that’s Vietnamese Coriander and not a flavour I ever expected to discover in a brew.
Let’s clarify this… it took me a while to identify the flavour luring in the background, and to confirm it, a few days later I invited a friend round to share a bottle.
Alan has a palate I respect and he too said there was something he couldn’t quite place. I left him wrestling with the flavour for a while before I went to my herb patch and picked a Laksa leaf and Alan agreed – he’d never tried Laksa before but that was exactly the flavour he couldn’t identify.
Anyway, once you get past those aromatic, citrus, herbal hops, there is an underlying butterscotch mellowness and then the hoppiness comes back at the end, just tickling the back of your throat.
I’m still getting into Golden Ales, but I found this immensely satisfying, I’m giving it four stars, and it will certainly be a regular on my beer shelf, if I can find a local supplier!
Speckled Hen (and its variations) also sponsor the ’Dave’ TV channel here in blighty, which features comedy programmes and reruns of Top Gear (so it’s a regular on my TV while the missus watches soaps) – Here’s a sample of one of their adverts.
Bob the Brit