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.