I read somewhere recently (can't remember where) about the resurgence of mild as a drink and as a fan of the style, I was pleased to read it, but this endangered species needs active promotion to climb back from its near extinct current state. CAMRA's Make May Mild Month campaign aims to do just that.
Now I am lucky enough to live in an area where mild clings on as a drink you can readily purchase over the bar and am a regular drinker of it, so I do my bit. Back to promotion though. Thus it was I found myself at Lees Brewery early on Saturday morning to launch my CAMRA Branch's contribution to the first day of the campaign. Lees Brewer's Dark is a former Champion Mild of Britain and is very dark, chocolatey and luscious, with a tight creamy head. It drinks very easily indeed. It was a good start to the day and with the first going down at around 10.20 in the morning, a perfect breakfast pint.
The coach then took us on to the Hare and Hounds (The Dogs of Tyson fame) where four more milds awaited us, with PictishBlack Diamond Mild being considered by those present as a very good example of the style. Then to Rochdale and the Baum, where two milds were available (one from local brewery Green Mill being favoured) and the Regal Moon where no less than six were on the bar, ranging from Phoenix Black Shadow -another local beer - to rarer milds from Hook Norton and Allgates. Wisely and thoughtfully, Chris the Manager had dug out the third pint glasses, allowing all the beers to be tasted easily.
Our final official stop saw us at the Ashton Arms in Oldham, newly elected as our Pub of the Year, where more Phoenix was drunk, though two milds were available. All the mild handpumps had pump clip crowners in each venue, urging customers to give mild a try, so hopefully there will be a lasting effect. Not an official part of the trip, but just round the corner, the Squire Knott had a determined show of strength, marking its up and coming status as a cask venue with four more milds. Coach House Gunpowder was my choice, a little stronger at 3.8% and my last drink of the day.
So, at least 16 milds available (and sampled) and all were pretty damn good. Go out and seek some mild this month. I doubt if you will be disappointed.
Another good thing about mild is that it is not as intoxicating as most other beers. After a full day out I was able to go home and follow the sub titled Wallander on TV. Proof I'd say.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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