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Mild Can Still Surprise Us

We can go months without seeing a draught mild on sale in Penzance and so, at the sight of a pump clip for St Austell’s ‘The Queen’s Mild’, felt the same kind of excitement a city-based beer geek might at the sight of, say, a limited edition farmhouse porter.

St Austell Queen's Mild.We’ve been sorely disappointed by mild in the past: too often, they turn out to be watery and murky — like something from the U-bend under the kitchen sink. But from the moment this landed on the bar, we knew we were on to a winner.

It glowed in the glass, almost black but not opaque. The use of a sparkler (in the West Country, they are sometimes employed, sometimes not — there is no dogma) gave it a smooth, slightly-off-white head. A sparkling clean glass didn’t hurt, either. It looked, in short, like a photo opportunity for the Mild Marketing Board.

A relatively high strength for a mild (4.5%) seemed to nudge it into Old Ale territory (think Adnams). We’d like to have tried it side-by-side with Black Prince, St Austell’s regular but rarely-seen ‘dark ale’, but our impression was that Queen’s was milkier, stouter, and more bitter. A sort of ‘best mild’, perhaps.

It was extremely moreish and satisfying but didn’t demand our complete attention: it made us say ‘Aaah….’ rather than ‘Wow!’

We meant to have one but couldn’t resist a second. Then, seizing the moment, pushed on to a third. We might have made a fourth if the pub hadn’t been closing around us.

Queen’s Mild was £3.40 a pint at the Yacht Inn, Penzance, which is about the going rate for a pint round here. We think it was a leftover from the Celtic Beer Festival, for which Roger Ryman and his team brew small amounts of a dazzling range of experimental beers, and brewed in collaboration with the Queen’s Arms, Brixham.

5 replies on “Mild Can Still Surprise Us”

Crisp, clear snap-shot of a posting (the text), thanks for this.

It sounds like a classic English beer, from the nation which invented the finest ales.

I hope the like will not disappear under a wave of APAs and other newbies, not that the latter are unwelcome of course. What’s the old American (but probably English, ultimately) folk saying, “you leave with the one who brung ya..”?


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