I think it's best I start this review by saying I'm not sure I approve of the name. When I think of the Old Empire I can't help but picture starving Indians and slave ships, but I'm going to try and put that to one side. Marston are a proper old English brewery based in Burton Upon Trent who own a huge amount of pubs, and quite a few other breweries including Wychwood, so they're doing alright for themselves. I got this beer in a pack of 6 hoppy beers from LIDL which only cost £6.99, I'm not usually a fan of excessively hopped beers but at about £1.16 per a bottle I wasn't going to turn them down.
Old Empire IPA comes in a nice enough 500ml bottle featuring what seems to be an Indian Elephant, so yea we're back to my concern about glorifying the age of the Great British Empire and all the carnage it was responsible for. At 5.7% alcohol this isn't an IPA to be trifled with and makes the £1.16 price tag even more of a bargain. The beer pours a clear amber colour with a fairly small head, it really does look like a proper old English beer from a proper old English brewery, so it's all good so far.
The aroma is quite malty especially by IPA standards, there's also some grain and caramel lurking in there. This actually smells more like a traditional English bitter than an IPA to me, which I'm choosing to believe is a good sign as IPA's are probably my least favourite beers. The smell really is very mild and a little bit sweet, very promising indeed. Right from first taste the texture is really soft and smooth, but also thicker than you'd expect from a standard IPA, there's also none of that horrible tangy IPA taste you often get which fades away quickly, but I really don't like.
The taste is surprisingly good with some lovely spices coming through, almost like a mild winter warmer, but they add nicely to the Indian theme. The beers also more bitter than expected, and there's a really nice caramel finish. This is very much something in between an IPA and a traditional English bitter, and I really like it. I'm going to give Old Empire IPA from Marton's Brewery a quite exceptional 8.5 out of 10. It's a beer that really surpassed my expectations so well done Marston's.