Morland Brewing Company Old Speckled Hen English Fine Ale
I have no idea what to expect from this. An English pale ale in a clear bottle. I really hate clear bottles but I will not judge until I try it. Pours a light amber color with lots of lacing and a robust head. Very creamy aroma if that makes any sense.
Flavor is as I expected a bit skunky. Clear bottles almost always mean skunky. Despite the skunky flavor this still has some good stuff going on. The amber malt provides a smokey bread-like flavor that is balanced by the strong hop presence. Very bitter hoppy aftertaste. Not much in the way of hop aroma but the bitterness is very pronounced. The bitterness combined with the skunkyness is very powerful. This combination really ruins any chance at true balance.
This would be an excellent ale if it was in an amber bottle. Since Morland has been brewing since 1711 they really should know better. If this was available in cans and the price was right I would certainly pick this up on occasion. This would be excellent if you like Heineken, Becks, or Stella but it really won't cut it if you don't want a less abrasive clean flavored ale. I just can't excuse a flaw like this.
Final Score: 69% (Skunky but Otherwise Solid Malt Character. Stop the Clear.)