Right, then: here are the bottled milds we’re going to test against each other in the next few weeks:
- 8 Sail Millwright Mild
- Banks’s Mild (bottle and can)
- Blue Monkey 99 Red Baboons
- Brass Castle Hazelnut Mild
- Elgood’s Black Dog
- Elmtree Nightlight Mild
- Holden’s Black Country Mild
- Ilkley Black
- Mann’s Brown Ale
- Moon Gazer Dark Mild
- Moorhouse’s Black Cat
- Panther Brewery Mild Panther
- Rudgate Ruby Mild
- St Peter’s Mild
- Thwaites Champion Dark Mild (can)
In general, it was difficult to find bottled milds at all and most of the above came from Beers of Europe who have an unusually large range.
You’ll notice that a couple of big names are missing — Brain’s, Lees, Thwaites’s Nutty Black, and so on. That’s because, despite making serious efforts, we could not get hold of them.
Our local supermarkets didn’t have them, supermarkets in Somerset didn’t have them, and we couldn’t buy them online from supermarkets, breweries or specialist retailers without ordering an entire case, or paying a huge delivery fee to get a single bottle. Our budget is finite and, this time we’re not including samples from breweries. Though that’s an easy way for us to get hold of beers that are otherwise difficult to obtain, it made us feel a bit uncomfortable last time round, not only because of the perception that ‘free beer tastes better’, but also because it felt a bit pointless to recommend beers that are otherwise difficult to get hold of.
We’re not tasting every bottled mild there is but a sample of 15 is surely enough to reach some broad conclusions and (hopefully) to identify one or two that come close to the experience of drinking a great mild in the pub. It also means we might get this done before Christmas.
Let the moderate times begin!