England-based Morland Brewery sells a beer called Old speckled Hen that was first brewed in 1979 in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG factory in Abingdon. Ironically, the factory shut down when the MGB was axed and production moved to Longbridge the following year.
The origin of the beer’s name is a point of debate among historians. Morland claims it was named Old Speckled Hen to pay homage to the “owld specked ‘un” (pictured above), a Featherlight Fabric Saloon that MG employees used to run errands around the factory. Story has it the car earned its distinctive nickname because it was often parked outside of the paint shop and consequently covered in flecks of paint.
Other sources claim owld speckled ‘un was in fact a lightweight version of the MG 14/40 that featured interesting paint jobs over the years including “grained black fabric sprinkled with gold dust.” F. Wilson McComb’s “MG by McComb” notes the car was used as a factory demonstrator and called Old Speckly Hen.
Regardless, Old Speckled Hen is still brewed 35-years after it was introduced. It is an English ale with a 5.2-percent alcohol rating, though a look at the brewery’s website reveals lower percentages are offered in select markets. We’ve seen it on tap across England, but beer aficionados will likely have to go their nearest specialty beer store to find one.
We’re auto journalists, not beer critics, so we won’t give you a lengthy overview of what it’s like to drink and limit ourselves to saying it’s a smooth beer with some light fruit aromas to it. It’s not the tastiest beer out there but it’s worth drinking at least once just for the sheer novelty of it – there are a number of ways to own a piece of automotive history but there are far fewer ways to drink one.