Beer styles

Mild ain't what it used to be

A pint of Brodie's Mild at the William IV pub in Leyton

My Dad drank a lot of mild as a young man, in all kinds of pubs and social clubs, and misses it a lot. So, I looked forward to taking him to the Nags Head in Walthamstow for a pint of Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, which is on of my favourite beers.

It wouldn’t be an exagerration to say he turned his nose up: “It’s alright,” he said, “but it’s not really mild — not like you used to get.”

Brodie’s mild, on the other hand, he absolutely loved. It’s nice enough, but fairly unexciting  — softer and browner — compared to Oscar Wilde, but is apparently more like the real thing.


20 replies on “Mild ain't what it used to be”

Surely the point of mild is (or was) that it *is* mild in flavour and character and therefore can be drunk in large quantities without challenging the tastebuds too much.

And what kind of mild was the “real thing”? It varied so much in colour and taste from place to place. I guess Brodie’s Mild was more like what he used to drink mild wise. Be interesting to know what that was.

“Not like you used to get”. Our grandparents could have said the same. Mild has been lots of things over the years: pale, dark, strong, weak. Each generation has its own Mild. That’s what makes it fun.


MIld! the best book ever written about Mild is available her:


Bailey’s dad drunk King Pin by Ansell brewery, when visiting my people in the north it would be Massey’s mild ( I think that is the spelling ).

But as Bailey’s Dad says your tastes change as you get older you forget just what things acutally tasted like, just memories.

But if Mild is the new trend in beers he welcomes it, but doubts if we will see it in this neck of the woods.

If tales of old about mild(*) are true (that it was the beer that all the slops got thrown into) then I’m happy that by & large this seems to have stopped & mild is often a really pleasant drink.

Another slightly dodgy practice still happens in mild brewing (usually in older regional breweries with large minimum brewlength plant) – parti-gyle brewing & ‘colouring up’ – i.e. making a big batch of bitter, syphoning some of it off, adding water (hopefully before fermentation begins – as it seems to make for a more integrated flavoured beer) & then adding some form of colouring – either a liquid roast-malt/roast-barley extract or colouring caramel.

Oddly, all of this shenanigans can make for OK or better beers!

I love the more flavourful darker milds – Moorhouse Black Cat, Cain’s (when fresh it’s liqourice-y & hoppy), plus some of the Midlands ones.

(*)apologies for mixing my drinks/metaphors there!)

Love dark milds. Really, it’s usually a go-to if on, even more so if it’s one i’ve not had. Cain’s is my favourite, and I second the Moorhouse Black Cat – even if it is not quite as good in a bottle. I’m making one in a couple of weeks, actually. hopefully I’ll nail it! A maligned style, for sure.

Hello, Brodie’s! Can we have a brewery tour, please?

I don’t think mild has to be that mild in flavour — the appeal for me is that it’s flavoursome, without being too heavy or alcoholic.

I like the way my Mum is my Dad’s spokesperson…

MikeMcG as far as I am aware Batemans still colouring up their bitter to produce their mild and caramel is fairly common in British brewing

Bailey is would be interested on what you dad think of Greene King XX Mild, I do like it also Pitfield dark mild might be something else he would like.

I’ve never had GK mild — any idea where (if anywhere) it’s on sale in London? I’ve never seen the Pitfield one for sale anywhere either, but would be very keen to try it.

The Wenlock Arms sometimes sell Pitfield mild, sorry don’t know are where in London that sells GK mild, I had mine in Nottingham!

@Oblivious – I think there’s loads of regionals that ‘colour up’ (& ‘water down’) their bitter (or bitter-wort) to make a mild, as I say, though, sometimes it makes for surprisingly decent beer.

(wasn’t Bateman’s DM CAMRA CBoB winner one year?)

(’nuff acronyms for you? :~)

Brodies Mild was a really nice treat on a very bland beery day not too long ago. I was very very pleased to be drinking that.

I have always had a soft spot for Mild, it’s lovely… and I can drink a bucket of it, with no falling over.

(I love Over the moon from DarkStar, so hoppy, and drinkable, shows that roast and hop can sit well together)

GK XX mild is always on at the Free Press, Cambridge – one of the country’s most underrated real ale cities. And I can vouch for it – with a poncey hat on, I described it thusly in a blog post:

‘It has a gently sour base delivered through a thick, gluggable body. At just 3% ABV, it is sessionable in the extreme.’

I stand by that!

‘Ah, sourness — the brewer’s secret weapon.’

I quite agree, though I prefer it subtle. While definitely a beer lover, I can’t personally abide Cantillon beers (despite very much enjoying the brewery tour and trying plusieurs fois de les aimer).

For me, the Cantillon beers (like Rauchbier) define “an acquired taste”. They’re so weird that I couldn’t help going back to them despite not likeing them at first and, over the course of a couple of years, I’ve come to really love them.

You have all failed to mention the king of mild beer second to none equalled by possibly Kingpin,and that is WATNEY’S SPECIAL MILD!! A drink to die for — nothing like the chemical concoctions of the present day–“proper beer!”

Drunk both King Pin and Watneys Special Mild what seems like centuries ago now. Think i would just about come down in favour of King Pin, but it was too expensive to produce. Oh for those days instead of all this chemical crap.

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