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A while back I reviewed Greene King’s Old Golden Hen and concluded it was a pleasant, refreshing beer, with some element of distinctiveness, even if not one to set the world alight. Recently, GK have launched IPA Gold as a brand extension to their standard IPA. Both beers are 4.1% ABV and would seem to occupy exactly the same territory in the market.
During last week’s hot weather, ideal for refreshing blonde beers, I sampled both on two consecutive days. The IPA Gold was disappointingly bland, coming across as just another generic “golden ale” with little about it in terms of either malt or hop character. Old Golden Hen, in contrast, was a touch darker, and had a more pronounced malt body combined with distinct, although not overstated, notes of New World hops. Overall, a considerably more complex and substantial beer.
There are better beers in the style (Hawkshead Lakeland Gold, anyone?) but as far as this particular contest goes it’s a decisive victory to the Hen.