Showing posts with label mild ale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mild ale. Show all posts

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!

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!

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