Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I Fancy a Mild


Our CAMRA Branch has an unusual meeting tonight. We have been invited by our biggest local brewer, JW Lees to hold a Special Branch Meeting at the brewery. We haven't been there en masse for quite a while,  so it is pleasing to be invited.  We have pretty good relations with Lees, though we don't always see eye to eye. This is as it it should be, as the tension between production of beer and a consumer and campaigning organisation about beer, is a real one. We are on the same side and while we generally agree on ends, we don't always agree on means.

As well as setting our Branch's campaigning priorities, we are looking forward to a talk by the MD, William Lees-Jones and the subsequent question and answer session. That should be lively and I am sure there will be searching questions and robust answers. Family Brewers are a very important part of our brewing heritage. To a large extent they are living history, as they are survivors with a wealth of experience, that still compete on a day to day basis for business. Some accuse them of being staid and boring and no doubt that will come up tonight too. I expect it to be a lively night.

Hopefully there will be beer. I expect that among the beers on the bar will be Brewer's Dark, formerly GB Mild, which is a former Champion Mild of Britain. It is, like most milds, becoming a rare beast in the pubs, so it will be nice to have a sensible few pints of it.

 I'll let you know how we get on.

There is a small possibility of Plum Pudding, Lees' revered Christmas special being on - if it is ready. Fingers crossed.

16 comments:

Cooking Lager said...

Is this a free grog thing?

Tandleman said...

As Father Ted said when he became a racist: "There will be a limited amount of free drink".

Possibly.

Curmudgeon said...

But would Cookie come along to drink free weak dark pongy slop?

Tandleman said...

"Free" is the key!

Cooking Lager said...

Free is indeed the key.

py0 said...

Is mild really becoming a rarity? I see more and more of it nowadays, most decent pubs seem to have a mild on tap.

Steve Lamond said...

you're lucky py0, don't get any in Northern Ireland pubs, but even when in Somerset and Hampshire I barley saw it in mild month let alone the rest of the year other than a handful of outlets stocking the excellent Greene King Mild on a year-round basis.

Simon Johnson said...

You could ask them why they no longer call their award-winning mild a mild. After all, CAMRA campaign to save the style; Lees seem to be in style denial.

Cooking Lager said...

Why would you ask that question and would you expect a difference answer than "we think we will sell more of it if we give it a different name" ?

Tandleman said...

pY0

I think it is becoming pretty rare really. It is in Lees pubs for sure.

Simon

What Cookie said.

Curmudgeon said...

I would say even in the North-West, which is a traditional stronghold of mild, a large majority of pubs selling cask beer do not regularly stock a cask mild. Spoons don't, for a start.

Incidentally, a while back Hydes rebranded their light mild as a bitter :S

Anonymous said...

ask them whats going on with there cask bitter i was in the ship inn on thursday they had none due to a bad batch ?

py0 said...

I certainly see more mild on tap than cask stout or old ale, and probably about the same as an IPA (ie in that a good beer focused pub will have both, but a poor pub will have neither). It is true that a lot of pubs do restrict themselves to a rather dull selection of 4% bitters and nothing else.

Simon Johnson said...

Cookie / Tandy

I'd ask the question to hear the answer. That's the answer I'm expecting. It'd be refreshing for a brewer to actually come out and say it.

Then we can knock this "mild in may" / endangered style rollocks on the head.

Tandleman said...

I don't need to ask the question Simon, as I know the answer. It is indeed the one you expect. William Lees-Jones decided this when he took over as MD, but he took some time to make the actual change and it was in an effort to arrest declining sales. He told me as much before it actually happened.

Tandleman said...

Simon: Nearly five years ago. Read all about it here:

http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/12/lees-gb-mild.html