Friday, 27 May 2022

Mild Musings (part 2,390)

I was thinking about Mild today. As I'm sure you often do. While I was walking the mean streets of my neighbourhood.

Only joking. It's rather nice, really. Far too good for the likes of us. I'm surprised they let us in.

Back to Mild. I was thinking of the choice that was available in some of the country. Where you knew if you went into a tied house from any brewery, you'd find a Mild. If you travelled around a bit, you had dozens to choose from. Even if you stuck to only cask.

In Nottingham, each of the three local breweries - Home, Shipstone and Hardy & Hanson - had a Dark Mild in all their pubs. Though the last didn't have any houses in the city centre. Bass Charrington had quite a few pubs. I'm sure they must have sold some sort of Dark Mild. Probably XXXX from Tadcaster. But I never went in any of their pubs. When there was usually a Shippo's pub close by, why the hell would I? It was my favourite of the three Nottingham Milds. Not too sweet, like Hardy & Hansons. Home Mild was decent, too. But I could get that in Newark. Shippo's I couldn't.

Despite mostly being a Tetley town, in Leeds, there were other Milds around. Websters did a Dark Mild. As did Sam Smiths. Bass had XXXX, a bland beer I never took to. John Smiths and Whitbread must have had ones, too. But, again, I never went in any of their pubs. As they didn't sell cask. Tell a lie, I think I was dragged into the Skyrack a couple of times. Can't remember what I drank there. Almost forgot. Whitelocks had Younger's No. 3, which is sort of like a strong Dark Mild

Neither of those examples were particularly diverse towns, in terms of tied houses. For some reason, Loughborough had a particularly good spread of ownership. I think at least eight or nine different breweries. All with their Milds.

Manchester, home to several local breweries, offered Boddington, Robinson, Oldham, Lees, Hyde, Holt, Wilson, Greenall Whitley (boo, hiss*), Sam Smiths, Tetley. Doubtless some keg Bass and Whitbread, too.

Who under 60 was able to find a pint of Mild there waiting for them in around every corner? I didn't realise at the time how special that was.

In London Mild had all but disappeared by the time I had my first tentative half pint.

Which is why I sometimes strayed from the real ale path. And drank evil keg. Whitbread Best Mild a couple of times in London. Not hoping that it might be good. Which it wasn't. I simply wanted to drink Mild. Even if it was a tastless parody of the style. (I'm glad I did now, because I got to drink on of the Chiswell Street beers. Albeit breed in Luton by then.)

There. I think that was a pretty cohesive argument.

* I hated Greenall Whitley because the fuckwits than ran it fucked up some of my favourite breweries. Destroyed the beers, then shut the breweries down. Wem and Shipstone are two good examples. The pised around with the recipe of Shipstone bitter and made it a far worse beer. Luckily, they didn't play around with the Mild.


Anonymous said...

The brewery from Shippos set up the Belvoir Brewery and one of the range was an accurate replication of Shippos Mild. I have drunk gallons of it at the brewery,invariably in tip top condition.
Sadly because of COVID the brewery is presently mothballed

Michael Foster said...

In the mid 2000s when I lived in Nottingham, Hardy and Hanson's mild was still a regular offering at Ye Olde Trip but not in any of the city centre pubs, which did have other H&H beers. That was the first time I had a mild, in fact, and remains one of the top three beers I've ever had. I'd be curious to know if Greene King discontinued it; I assume they have.

Phil said...

I cut my teeth on Buckley's and London Pride (not at the same time) and spent years looking for something full-bodied, malty and just a bit sweet. When I first came to Manchester in the early 80s I couldn't get on with the local bitters at all, but Marston's cask mild really hit the spot. It went keg after a couple of years, though.

US Limey said...

No arguments! My local growing up was a Home Ales pub (The Petersham, now gone) and though I enjoyed all their cask ales - a pint of mild was regularly quaffed! Was never fond of Shippos, but Kimberley, and Mansfield also had a good mild. Sad to see the old breweries disappear, but I see Shipstones is making a comeback!

Chris Pickles said...

Pale milds were a big thing around Bradford. Tetley's had Falstaff. Websters had a dark mild but it was virtually impossible to find, I think the only place I ever had it was in Halifax. Websters pale mild was everywhere. Bass had Extra Light, Youngers Pale Scotch, Taylors Golden Best, Theakstons Light Mild. And a trip over the Pennines opened up a whole new world of Light Milds.

None of these would blow your head of with flavour but if you got them on cask they could be very pleasant thirst quenchers.

Russell Gibbon said...

Ah yes Ron, RIP those Wem breweries. I would love to have a recipe for Wem Bitter.

John Clarke said...

My CAMRA branch has just run its annual 'Mild Magic' promotion and over the course of its six weeks the 90 participating pubs sold 67 cask milds between them.

John said...

@michael foster - I *think* GK's bottled, and very occasionally cask, 'XX' Dark Mild is the H+H one, having strangely dropped their own recipe. Or I might have totally imagined that, which is entirely possible.

arnie moodenbaugh said...

Cask is rare in the US, and getting rarer. Several years ago in winter, my wife I had a dark mild at Jimmy's 43 in New York City. I don't remember the brewery name (!) but Jimmy's owner knew the brewers. The beer was gravity-poured from a dented US aluminum quarter keg (7.5 US gallons) sitting on the bar. Memorable beer, but a one-time experience.

Mike Austin said...

I agree with Russel Gibbon. I loved Wem Pale Ale!