Showing posts with label american mild month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label american mild month. Show all posts

Friday, May 25, 2018

#MildMonthUS Special Events

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which of course means just one thing, other than inevitable mattress sales, the final weekend of American Mild Month!


About 20 breweries in total have officially taken part in American Mild Month and had mild ales available through their tasting rooms in May.

Three Notch'd here in Central Virginia are releasing their mild tomorrow, called Mild Marker 20 and brewed to a homebrew recipe from a brewer in Lynchburg, the beer is a thoroughly mild 3.6% and has just 18 IBUs. The beer is being released just in time for me to enjoy while watching the Champions League final, and hopefully afterwards as well.

If you go down to St Petersburg in Florida this weekend though, there is a veritable mildfest going on at Flying Boat Brewing Company.

Flying Boat are one of those wonderful brave souls of the American brewing scene that brew a mild ale year round. At 4.5% abv, Woodlawn Pub Ale is described by the brewery as:
"Irish Red meets an English Mild. Malt forward with notes of caramel and slight roast. Light and easy drinking."
That sounds like the kind of beer I would enjoy any time of the year. Not happy to just have their stock in trade mild around, they got together with some of their friends in Florida to brew a couple of collaboration milds.

With Crooked Thumb Brewery from Safety Harbor they brewed what they describe as a 4.3% 'Light American Mild', which uses rye, spelt, and oats in the grist, and is single hopped with 25 IBUs of fruity Azacca hops. Being honest, that sounds marvellous to me, perfect for barmy Florida days.

The second collaboration was with Brooksville's Marker 48 Brewing, with whom they brewed a rye dark mild that is 4.5% and hopped with East Kent Goldings, Pacific Jade, and more Azacca, to get 30 IBUs. Pacific Jade is one of my favourite hops, and the combination of that and EKG sounds really interesting.

So if you are in the St Petersburg area this weekend, get along to the Flying Boat tasting room and see just how much scope for creativity there is with mild ale.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

American Mild Month is Here

May 1st is a day laden with with significance. Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere, Samhainn in the Southern. International Workers Day. International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day. The Feast Day of St James the Less in the Anglican Communion.

Strangely not included in this list of august events that happen on this day (thanks Wikipedia!) is that today sees the beginning of the 4th annual American Mild Month.


Believe it or not there are brewers in the land of extreme beer for whom Mild, whether pale, dark, ruby, or even American, holds a special place in their heart and so they make them available in May for discerning drinkers to imbible.

This year's participating brewers are, in no particular order:
Of course there are other breweries in American that regularly make a mild ale, but these are the guys that are officially participating in American Mild Month.

If in your drinking this month you come across a mild, I encourage you to order a pint and give it a whirl, then use the hashtag #MildMonthUS in your social media and let folks know, you could also tag the official American Mild Month Twitter account, @MildMonthUS.

Happy drinking people.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Mild of the Month

With it being June 1st, American Mild Month is now over for another year. I really wish I'd had more time to dedicate to the project, but life and work got in the way (on the up side, it is good to be busy, and my brain is still readjusting to impending fatherhood). I got to enjoy some nice mild ales during the month, Maelstrom from Three Notch'd Brewing springs to mind immediately.

The mild though that I enjoyed most throughout the month was one that is sadly not available in this part of Virginia, Oliver Brewing Company's Dark Horse. Oliver Brewing Company, headed up by fellow Brit Stephen Jones, were early supporters of American Mild Month and in many ways I think of Dark Horse as the unofficial flagship beer of the project. Dark Horse is as classic an English Dark Mild as you will find in the US, a straight down the line 3.8% ABV dark mild.

My first experience with Dark Horse, and Oliver Brewing in general was back in 2012 when my best mate and I went to Baltimore for a weekend on the lash. Nursing a well earned hangover we wandered into Pratt Street Alehouse and took our hair of the dog in the form of Dark Horse, about 6 pints if memory serves, so when Stephen offered to send some cans of the beer my way, there was no chance I would look said dark gift horse in the mouth.


As you can see in the picture, Dark Horse is one of the expected colours for an English Dark Mild, kind of a dark brown, but with crimson edges, and a nice looking light tan head that seems to just float there for the duration of the drinking. Just for reference, here's a picture of it in my dimpled mug as well as the nonic above (yes I have a thing for ye olde pint glasses).


The aroma was mostly unsweetened cocoa powder with a slight undercurrent of a grassy tobacco thing that I always associate with Fuggles hops. I realise this will likely sound insane to some, but the aroma was distinctly 'pub-like', and by that I mean classic British boozer 'pub-like' rather than modern brick and chrome craft beer bar, you could almost say it smells curmudgeonly. As for the flavour, again the cocoa character is present, but with a slight hazelnut spread thing going on as well, think schmeer of Nutella on fresh toast and you're pretty much in the right neck of the woods. There is just enough hop bite to cut through the malt, but not enough to dominate the beer, some people use 'balance' to damn with faint praise, I use it because I love balanced beers that I can drink all night, Dark Horse has balance. Even though Dark Horse is 'only' 3.8% you'd never tell as it isn't watery in the slightest.


Thankfully Dark Horse is a year round part of the Oliver Brewing Company lineup, and hopefully it will eventually find it's way to central VA on a regular basis, along with the rest of their beers, of which I have fond memories from 2012. Still, it was the ideal beer with which to see in and see out American Mild Month 2017, and here's hoping for more time to make the 2018 much bigger and better.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Hail Mild Month!

Finally it is May, which of course means that on both sides of the Pond it is Mild Month.


Mild Month has been going for a while back home in Blighty, and CAMRA are at the heart of encouraging drinkers to try something a little different this month. Over on this side of the mighty Atlantic, I started American Mild Month in 2015 with the aim of encouraging brewers and drinkers to put down their IPAs and take a walk on the mild side.

Unfortunately I've not had as much time to commit to this year's iteration of the project as I would like, day job and all that, but it is good to know that there are plenty of breweries in the US who have taken up the baton and will have milds on tap in May, including several here in Virginia.

I hope to find time to scoot around the Old Dominion a bit trying milds from breweries like Three Notch'd, Mad Fox, and the Virginia Beer Company, as well as enjoying the Oliver Ale's Dark Horse sent down for myself and the designer of the American Mild Month logo form Baltimore in Maryland.

So let me encourage people to try at least a few pints of mild this month if you see them, and post pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with the hashtag #MildMonthUS.

Happy drinking!

Friday, May 13, 2016

#IHP2016 meets #MildMonthUS - The Tasting

Finally it's ready.

Fermentation is done with, the beer is kegged, and now happily being tapped from my kegerator.

I refer of course to my iteration of this year's theme for the International Homebrew Project, 'American Mild Ale'. If you want to read up on my proposed description of an American Mild, see here, and here if you are interested in the recipe for what Mrs V has christened 'Amber Waves Mild'. For the more visual amongst us, here's a picture.


Evidently it's not completely sparklingly bright, with a bit of chill haze in there that does clear as the beer warms, perhaps I'll tinker with the kegerator temperature. However, given that murk is the new IPA (not sure 'murk' is quite the right phrase, pea souper might be better) I am not unduly worried about it right now. The colour is spot on where I wanted it to be though, somewhere between amber and brown.


Aroma wise we're talking about a really nice sourdough breadiness that I put down to being the product of using Victory and Special Roast malt, also in there is a trace of unsweeetened cocoa powder, and a weak coffee thing that reminded me for some reason of the Douw Egberts instant coffee I used to drink at college. When it comes to the flavours again that toasty breadiness comes to the fore, layering over the grainy cereal nature of American 2-row base malt. The bitterness is clean, evident, and balances the beer really well, and even though I used aroma and flavour hops they are both very faint. Also in the mix was a light nuttiness, like a schmear of Nutella on toast, and just a faint fruitiness that I assume is coming from the Wyeast American II yeast.


Overall, Amber Waves is a nicely balance mild ale, all the flavours I expected are evident but nothing dominates. The body is on the light side of medium, so it avoids being watery. I am very happy with my latest stab at Americanising mild ale, and look forward to bashing many a pint of it of an evening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#MildMonthUS meet #IHP2016

Last night I finally got round to kegging up my American Mild ale for this year's International Homebrew Project - which seems to have lingered far longer than usual.

The picture below shows the sample I pulled out of the fermenter before transferring the beer to the keg:


The colour is pretty much where I wanted it to be, not a dark, dark mild and not a pale mild, somewhere in between, a nice rich amber which is perfect for the name given the beer by the awesome Mrs V - Amber Waves American Mild.

I used the Wyeast American II yeast (not sure which brewery that came from) and it fermented down from 1.044 to 1.012, giving me 4.2% abv, and enough mouthfeel to prevent the beer from being overly dry. In terms of initial flavours, the Victory and Special Roast malts come through nicely, and work very well together to give the beer a sourdough breadiness which I at least really like, and think it compliments the husky graininess of standard American 2-row malt.

Put it simply, I am excited about this beer being carbonated and ready for drinking, should be at least tryable from the keg by Sunday, as the beginning of American Mild Month, and give it a few days and I think it will be ready for a fuller, proper review.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Session Beer Day

It's today!!!


Now, if you have followed Fuggled for any length of time more than say, three days, you'll know that I love my session beers. I love bitters, milds, desítky, dry Irish stouts, et al, the kinds of beers that are ideal for a long period of time I the pub with friends, playing pool, talking shit, and just hanging out, kind of like this pub from a Greene King ad:



Naturally then I fully support the Session Beer Project, and will find some session beer to drink today, whether that's Three Notch'd Bitter 42 (originally Session 42 but some people seem to think they can own the term 'session'), O'Hara's Red Ale at the Tin Whistle, one of the other handful of places round here that are guaranteed to have session beer available.


Session Beer Day is also the ideal pre-cursor to American Mild Month, which encourages breweries, drinkers, and homebrewers to celebrate a particular kind of session beer, mild ales, whether dark, pale, or 'American', for the entire month of May.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#IHP2016 Brewday Reminder

How time flies....seems like only yesterday that those who voted in the International Homebrew Project poll decided to make a stab at creating a new beer style, the American Mild Ale. Thus the time for brewing our beers is almost upon us, with May just 5 weeks away.

I am planning on brewing my beer next weekend, and have already written about my planned recipe in a previous post.

There were 23 people who wanted to brew an American Mild, if you are one of them, add details of your beer and brewing schedule to the comments below so I can get a sense of who is doing what.

Friday, February 12, 2016

#IHP2016 - Recipe Thoughts and Schedule

Usually around this time of the year I am posting the recipe for the forthcoming International Homebrew Project and a schedule for the brewing and reporting there on. This year though is different because there is no single recipe for the project.

As I noted the last time I wrote about the International Homebrew Project, this year participants are being asked to create their iteration on a style, in this case the 'American Mild'. Using the guidelines laid out in a previous post, I want homebrewers to get creative, and if they are also bloggers to write about their recipes ahead of brewing them.

Before laying out my probable recipe, a quick word about schedule. American Mild Month starts on International Workers Day, also known as May 1st, so the aim is for brewers to have their beers ready for consumption on that day. Given a fairly standard schedule of 4 weeks from boil to glass, that would mean brewing no later than the first weekend in April, and I guess it also means folks have time to do a trial batch and make adjustments ahead of then.

For my own recipe, I am planning to take the 'American' bit to mainly refer to the ingredients I use, so I will be eschewing my usual Golden Promise base malt for 2-row from this side of the Pond. English crystal malts will not make an appearance, neither will English roasted malts, even though both are easily available at my local homebrew store. In will come specialty malts such as Victory and Special Roast. The most instantly definable 'American' element of the American Mild is likely to be the hopping, though trying to stay within the given definitions of a mild may prove tricky, but as I pointed out on the American Mild Month post there is a world of difference between 'low' and 'none'. Low to me means perceptible but not dominant, and that's what I will be aiming for.

Here then is my first sketch of my recipe, and I would appreciate any thoughts folks have about the recipe...
  • 74% 2-Row
  • 12% Victory
  • 12% Special Roast
  • 2% Black Malt
  • 17 IBU Calypso for 60 minutes
  • 6 IBU Calypso for 15 minutes
  • 1 IBU Calypso for 1 minute
  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast
My target numbers for this are:
  • OG - 1.043
  • FG - 1.011
  • ABV - 4.3%
  • SRM - 15 (deep amber)
  • IBU - 24
Numbers are really only a guideline, flavour and aroma are clearly way more important than whether I hit my targets perfectly. Given the malt bill here, I am expecting a lot of bready flavours, a combination of the toastiness of Victory and the sourdough tang of Special Roast is something I am very intrigued by, add in the strawberry characteristic of Calypso hops and the more fruity notes that American II yeast can bring to the party and I have a good feeling that this will be a tasty, sessionable, drop of beer.

Monday, January 11, 2016

#IHP2016 - In With The New

The masses have spoken, well, 23 of them.

Last week I put a quick poll up on here looking for guidance on what to do for the 2016 iteration of the International Homebrew Project. The choices were to stick with the tried and tested formula of recreating historic beers based on the research and work of Ron Pattinson or to attempt to create a new beer style.

As I say, the masses have spoken, and by a margin of just over 2 to 1 it is decided that the International Homebrew Project 2016 will embrace the challenge of creating a new beer style, thus the theme for this year is centred around the, perhaps oxymoronic, concept of the American Mild.

I will be putting my thinking hat on in the coming days to extrapolate further on what would constitute an American Mild, but it's rather fun to have a completely clean slate on which to draw.

Thanks to those that voted in the poll, and if you are planning to take part in the project, please leave a comment here, or send me an email.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

International Homebrew Project 2016 - Crowdsourcing Style

Around this time of year I start the planning for the International Homebrew Project, which will see its 6th iteration in 2016. In previous years those of us who take part have mainly focused on recreating historic beer recipes, usually from the research of Ron Pattinson. Previous recipes were:
This year however I am thinking about doing something a little different.

Last year I started a project called American Mild Month, drawing inspiration from the Campaign for Real Ale's 'May is Mild Month' in the UK. The project had more than 50 breweries participating across the US, and the 2016 iteration is already looking to better that number.


What better way then to encourage more interest in the brewing of mild ale than to get fellow homebrewers engaged and brewing their own mild ales? However, I'd rather not stick to the accepted understanding of mild back in Blighty, and therefore to attempt to crowd source a new beer style, the American Mild Ale. As part of American Mild Month, I encouraged breweries to try and Americanise mild with the following parameters:
Let's start with color. The SRM numbers for English milds range from 6 to 34, which is basically the entire spectrum of beer. The majority of milds though fall in the dark category, starting at 17 SRM, which is a deep orange to amber color. An American mild then would be deep amber, with red in the mix as well, veering up to brown at the upper limit.

Alcoholic restraint is a hallmark of the modern mild ale, and we believe that an American mild should follow that tradition, topping out at 4.5% abv. We imagine most American milds would fall between 3.5% and 4.5% abv.

Everyone knows that many modern American beers are very hop centric while mild ales tend to be very restrained when it comes to both IBUs and hop perception, remember the official description from GABF...

Hop aroma is very low...Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low

Clearly then the American Mild is not a hop bomb, but neither need it be a hop free zone. 'Low' is not the same as 'none', it is all about restraint, and with the wide variety of American hops available the range of hop flavors is actually quite broad, whether its the spiciness of Cluster, the grapefruit of Amarillo, or the tropical fruit of El Dorado, there is room here for differentiation, and dry hopping is ok too. Remember though, before going crazy with the hops, an American Mild is not a Session IPA, or a Session Cascadian Dark Ale, it's still a mild. Traditional English milds top out at 25 IBUs, but for an American Mild we would suggest an upper limit of 30 IBUs.

One major departure from the English mild style in a theoretical American mild is the yeast. The classic American yeast strain used by many an American craft brewery is known for being very clean, allowing the other ingredients to shine through without contributing the fruity flavors of the British yeasts.

So there we go, a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through.
Or for those more into lists:
  • OG - 1.032 - 1.048
  • FG - 1.006 - 1.014
  • ABV - 3.5% - 4.5%
  • SRM - 17 - 25
  • IBU - 15 - 30
If there isn't any interest in trying to create a new style, I'll revert to brewing historical recipes using Ron's research as a guide. There is a poll up in the upper right rail, let me know your thoughts by Friday January 8th.

Oh, and happy New Year!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Session #99 - Roundup

Well, that was the Session that was, and this is the round up that is. The theme for Session #99 was on localising mild, and we got an interesting array of responses.

Over in Ireland, The Beer Nut got 'historically pedantic' and pointed out that most modern beer would be considered 'mild' due to the focus on freshness. Staying in Ireland, The Drunken Destrier suggests than making an 'Irish' mild would largely be an exercise in dropping the booze on an Irish Red Ale while asking the question 'do we want or need a 3-4% ABV red/brown ale with little hop character and low gravity?' Meanwhile, my good friend Reuben of The Tale of the Ale, aka 'johnny come lately' on account of his post being a week late, suggested the possibility of going native with an Irish mild by using 'bog fauna like heather and bog myrtle', an idea I have to admit I like, being a fan of Williams Brothers and their collection of historical ales.

Coming back to this side of the Pond, Sean Inman of Beer Search Party wondered how to create a mild that would appeal to a 'Brit living in L.A.' as an homage to both the homeland and the locale. Fellow VA blogger, American Mild Month co-conspirator, and all round good top bloke, Tom Cizauskas took to Yours For Good Fermentables to discuss 'The Audacity of Mild'. Jon at The Brew Site suggested a pumpkin mild for the US or a manioc mild in Brazil, before telling us about a beer called Murican Mild. Stan Hieronymous points out that beer can also be localised when it is 'part of the local fabric'.

Up in Canada, Alan, of A Good Beer Blog, took the opportunity to compare the situation for mild drinkers today with that of the last time mild featured as a topic for the Session. In the southern reaches of the Americas, Bolivian homebrewer The Brewolero engaged in an 'imagination exercise' for localising mild to the ingredients available in East Asia, in particular Cambodia and Vietnam.

Heading over to mainland Europe, Joan Villar-i-Martí of Birraire tells us that mild is not a popular style among his fellow Catalans. Skipping up to Berlin, Joe Stange wants to 'abstract the mild' so that it can fit in his sitz im leben, wherever his leben is sitzing at that time.

And there we have it. Thanks to everyone that took part! If I missed your post in the roundup, let me know and I'll rectify that as soon as possible. Cheers people!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Session 99 - Homebrew American Mild


This month's Session is hosted by, well, me! My theme for this month is around 'localising mild', tying in with the American Mild Month project that I started and that kicks off today, with 46 breweries around the US committed to having mild available for May.

I work in the software industry and localisation is something of a common theme for companies selling their software to different countries and cultures, and it was sat in a meeting one day that I realised that beer has a long history of localisation. For example, in the wake of Josef Groll creating Pilsner Urquell brewers across the world saw there was a market for pale lagers in the Pilsner vein, and so they took to trying to reproduce the original in their own context. Out of the original Pilsner came the German Pils, American Pilsners, and arguably even beer styles like Helles, Dortmunder Export, and modern light lagers, all of them variations on a theme that made the best of local ingredients to create something akin to the original. Thus pilsner was localised, the same could be said of IPA in the modern era as well.


In my own homebrewing I like to make localised versions of the British beer styles I grew up on and still enjoy to this day, such as best bitter, Session 42 for example is a best bitter made with entirely US ingredients, and most especially of late with dark milds. Last year I dipped my toe into a localised dark mild with a beer whose malt bill was American 2 row, Victory, Chocolate, and Black malt, the hops were Chinook, Northern Brewer, and Cascade, and which weighed in at only 4% abv. I probably overdid the hops a fair bit because it lacked the balance I was looking for.

This weekend I am planning to brew an American Mild, as I am now calling them, to conform to the guidelines laid out in the American Mild Month post 'An American Mild?'. The beer is tentatively called 'Mild Mannered Merican' and is as follows:
  • 66% US 2 Row Pale malt
  • 13% Victory malt
  • 13% Caramel 120
  • 6% Flaked barley
  • 10 IBU Calypso hops for 60 minutes
  • 5 IBU Calypso hops for 15 minutes
  • Safale US-05 yeast
According to my brewing software that should give me a 4.5% abv beer that is a rich copper bordering on red colour, and veers to the sweeter end of the spectrum, though I find using US malts also makes the beer a bit drier and crisper, so it shouldn't be cloying. I like Calypso hops for the tropical fruit flavour rather than the grapefruit thing of Cascade and Amarillo, as well as a trace of strawberry in the background. The clean nature of American ale yeast will hopefully let the balance of malt and hop really take centre stage to make it eminently drinkable.

Mild is in many ways in a similar situation today as porter was back in the 70s, neglected, almost forgotten, and ripe with brewing opportunities. With more and more beer drinkers wanting session beers, perhaps its time has come once more and in localising mild to the ingredients and tastes of a new audience, there will be a renaissance of this wonderful beer style.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Announcement for Session 99 - Localising Mild

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. (You can find more information on The Session on Brookston Beer Bulletin).
The topic for May's edition of The Session is Localising Mild.

Each May CAMRA in the UK encourages drinkers to get out and drink Mild Ales. This May is the first, as far as I am aware, American Mild Month, which has 45 breweries, so far, committed to brewing mild ales. Of those 45 breweries some are brewing the traditional English dark and pale mild styles, while a couple have said they will brew an 'American Mild', which American Mild Month describes as:
a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through

An essential element of the American Mild is that it uses American malts, hops, and the clean yeast strain that is commonly used over here. Like the development of many a beers style around the world, American Mild is the localisation of a beer from elsewhere, giving a nod to the original, but going its own way.

That then is the crux of the theme for The Session in May, how would you localise mild? What would an Irish, Belgian, Czech, or Australian Mild look like? Is anyone in your country making such a beer? For homebrewers, have you dabbled in cross-cultural beer making when it comes to mild?

The first Friday of May is also the first day of May. May Day, or International Workers Day, and it is apt that a beer style closely associated with the industrial regions of England should be the theme for the Session. Have at it folks!

To participate in the Session, write a post on the topic of Localising Mild, and leave a comment here with a link to your post on or before May 1st 2015, and I will include it in my Round-up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

#MildMonthUS is on!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the possibility of having a US based equivalent of CAMRA's May is Mild Month. A couple of days later Tom Cizauskas from Yours for Good Fermentables got in touch to tell me that he and Lew Bryson thought the idea was a good one and that he would be on board, so I decided to test the waters and see if any of my local breweries would be interested in brewing mild ales for May, and overwhelmingly they were.

Thus American Mild Month was born, the domain registered, the Facebook page created, the Twitter account created, and the hashtag #MildMonthUS started.

The website and Facebook pages are very much works in progress, and I hope to be unveiling the project logo in the very near future.

So far the following breweries have committed to having mild ales available in May:
  • Three Notch'd Brewing, VA
  • Blue Mountain Brewery, VA
  • Champion Brewing, VA
  • South Street Brewery, VA
  • Mad Fox Brewing, VA
  • Williamsburg Alewerks, VA
  • Oliver Ales, MD
  • Brewers Union Local 180, OR
  • Jester King Brewing, TX
  • Freetail Brewing, TX
  • Pour Decisions/Brewstillery, MN
The following breweries are possibly taking part:
  • Fortnight Brewing, NC
  • Twin Leaf Brewing, NC
  • Devils Backbone Brewing, VA
As more breweries come on board I'll be adding them to the list over on the American Mild Month website, and I'll be adding details of the milds being brewed as I get them.

If you know of any breweries that would be interested in joining the project, let me know, and let them know about American Mild Month. Other than that, like the Facebook page, follow the Twitter account, and get set for drinking Mild ale in May!

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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