breweries pubs Somerset

Mild is dead, long live mild?

westquay.jpg Having posted yesterday about the decline of mild, we went out to the Fountain Inn, Bridgwater, only to find… mild on tap.

The mild in question was called “Pint-sized brewery mild”, and was a mere 3.3%. The Pint-sized brewery in question turns out to be a microbrewery on Wadworth’s premises, at least according to this old press release from 2004. The idea being that they develop new products and test them on the market on a small-scale first.

Anyway, the mild itself was rather drinkable, but not particularly exciting in terms of flavour or aroma. No hops and a very subtle toasted malt flavour. Probably quite true to the original milds, or at least their incarnations by the late seventies..?

It’s strange — on the one hand, it’s nice to see the resurgence of a British style, especially one you can drink pint after pint of with no ill effects. It’s also positive to see the Camra campaign having an impact — they’ve really done a lot to promote mild and other endangered styles in the last few years, and I do think you see it around more frequently.

On the other hand, what if its sole selling point back in the day was that it was weak (therefore cheap) and inoffensive, taste-wise? Did it pave the way for keg?

There are some great milds out there — Oscar Wilde, from the Mighty Oak brewery, is a regular favourite of ours — but are these new generation milds particularly representative of the mass-produced stuff that was being downed in the post-war period? Is something like Wadworth’s pint-sized mild a more “authentic” version?

I think I’ll take flavour over authenticity.


The Fountain Inn is at 1 West Quay, Bridgwater TA6 3HL. It’s a Wadworth house, but was also serving an excellent pint of Butcombe bitter. It’s a very friendly place, but in no way “poncey”, and worth some of your time if you’re in the area.

The picture is the old logo of the Starkey, Knight and Ford brewery, which used to own the Fountain.


5 replies on “Mild is dead, long live mild?”

I love Mild, but it does suffer from a bit of an indentity crisis. There is quite a lot of ignorance about beer and ale in particular amongst the general public. Then when it comes to Mild there is ignorance amongst ale drinkers. There is still a need more PR on the Mild front.

If your idea of historic is the post war era then indeed the beer might be pretty unsatisfying. Mild of course wasn’t necessarily low gravity but rather young running beer often of a mid to dark complexion.

Its nearly autumn here which means I get to brew one soon yay.

One of my friends has recently become a confirmed mild drinker. As he says, it’s nice to have five pints and leave the pub feeling more-or-less as sober as you went in. The mild we drink most often is Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde and it’s really like a light stout (a contradiction in terms…) — what it loses in hop bitterness and alcohol flavours, it makes up with roasted and caramel flavours. I think they’re on the right track.

That’s how I feel about St Peter’s Mild. When the Jerusalem has Cream Stout on I inwardly sigh as I know I’ll end up pissed. When the mild’s the best thing on for me s’not a problem.

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