Green King: Morland: Old Speckled Hen: Low Alcohol (England: low Alcohol: 0.5% ABV)

Visual: Clear reddish brown with a frothy off white, creamy head. Some small bubbled carbonation, but not much at all.

Nose: Chestnuts and treacle. Occasional light strawberry touches. Earthy touch. Sticky toffee pudding.

Body: Good weight to the mouthfeel. Sticky toffee pudding. Chalk touch. Lightly earthy. Crushed peanuts. Lightly creamy. Slight milky coffee at the back.

Finish: Blended whisky that has been 50/50 mixed with water. Treacle. Slightly dusty.

Conclusion: This has always been a low abv beer that fills an often missed niche in the low alcohol drinks market.

It fills in that nutty, slightly sticky traditional British bitter style. I would say traditional real ale style, but this is blatantly not that. It, instead has that mildly syrupy feel that I associate with a lot of the Marstons, and other similar pasteurised beers.

It actually works really well, giving a weight and thickness often missing for low alcohol beers, which gives it a distinct, beery character. In fact, I think if I had done this blind I wouldn’t have guessed this was a below 1% abv beer. I wouldn’t have guessed it as a heavy duty one, but definitely not that low. Which is impressive I will say.

Any which way, it isn’t a fancy one – neither heavy hopped or with a massive malt load style, but you know what? We have tons of beers that work the fruity, hoppy low abv style, a bunch of clean lagers, hop bombs and even a few trying for stouty character. What I haven’t seen much of is a simple, earthy British bitter style, which is what this feels like.

It is very solid, and , as mentioned, hard to recognise as a low abv beer. It very much earns its spot and does a lot to avoid the usual low abv flaws.

Does the job very nicely.

Background: Grabbed this from Sainsbury’s when I was in there. Have had it a few times before. Looking back through the notes I remember being pretty happy with the cask version of Old Speckled Hen, but being both low abv and the pasteurised bottle version, this will be a very different beast. Not much else to add. I put on Korn: See You On The Other Side while drinking. No real reason, just felt like it. Make of that what you will.