Tell Us About Your Local Beer Mixes

The cover BEER magazine #40

Our feature on traditional beer mixes – dog’s nose, lightplater, brown-split, and so on – is in the latest edition of CAMRA’s BEER magazine.

We know we didn’t cap­ture every sin­gle region­al spe­cial­i­ty or all of the many local names for the mix­es we did list, and we were pre­pared for the steady trick­le of “But what about…?” mes­sages that have been com­ing our way on Twit­ter.

The thing is, this is the kind of stuff that peo­ple often know but don’t often write down – a gen­er­al prob­lem with study­ing the his­to­ry of beer and pubs – and we’d love to get more of these on record.

So, with that in mind, here’s your chance to tell the world about  the beer mix­es you know, and/or the names by which they go in your neck of the woods. Just com­ment below, spec­i­fy­ing:

  • What the mix is called.
  • How it’s made.
  • And the spe­cif­ic pub, neigh­bour­hood, town or region to which it belongs.

No vari­ant is too minor, and dupli­cates are fine – use­ful, even.

It would be inter­est­ing to know, for exam­ple, whether sim­ply ‘mixed’, which has come up a few times, always refers to mild and bit­ter. We guess it’s syn­ony­mous with half-and-half, and changes depend­ing on which two beers (one light, one dark) that are most com­mon­ly mixed in any giv­en region.

31 thoughts on “Tell Us About Your Local Beer Mixes”

  1. Not local but Axe Edge IPA and Black Horse Dou­ble Black IPA at the Bux­ton Tap.

    Bat­tle Axe.

    Phe­nom­e­nal.

    1. They’ve released that as a pre­mixed beer too aka a black and tan

  2. In Liv­er­pool mix­es such as Fifty – half dark mild/ half draught Guin­ness; Gold­en – half bitter/half lager
    Brown bit­ter – half bit­ter, bot­tle of Mann’s Brown (or oth­er); brown mild – half dark mild/bottle of brown ale.

    Mixed; half mild/half bit­ter. Both Liv­er­pool and Man­ches­ter. Not seen any oth­er mix­es as such in Man­ches­ter.

    1. Mixed was always half bit­ter, half mild in Leeds and was pret­ty pop­u­lar in Tetley’s hous­es.
      As a stu­dent at Aston, there was a local spe­cial­i­ty in the stu­dent union bar called The Bog­man; bot­tle of Spe­cial Brew, bot­tle of Gold Label bar­ley wine, topped up to a pint with a dou­ble vod­ka. Got it’s name from the first per­son to drink one, who downed it in one and then moaned “Where’s the bog, man”. Pret­ty hor­ri­ble drink…
      Also in that bar at the time was a cask-con­di­tioned cider called Bulmer’s Orig­i­nal. Beyond the name, it had noth­ing in com­mon with the dread­ful fizzy crap that cur­rent­ly uses the name; it was cloudy, rather orange and a very pleas­ant pint. It was also 46p a pint, and the bit­ters were 60p.…
      Any­way, it formed the basis of the Traf­fic Lights. A pint with black was the red light, a straight pint was amber, and one with a shot of Blue Cura­cao was the green light, and inevitably, the aim was to down each one in one in turn. The green light was actu­al­ly rather good.
      And in some pret­ty dread­ful pub in Liv­er­pool I decid­ed to mix a bot­tle of Guin­ness with a bot­tle of Mack­er­son. Turned out quite well; lat­er exper­i­ments found that I pre­fer a ratio of 2:1 Guin­ness to Mack­er­son, but I also liked the Guin­ness with just a dash of the milk stout.
      Most of my exper­i­ments were based on the fact that the pubs con­cerned didn’t have any drink­able beer, or at least none to my taste, but my odd­est, the Num­ber 42, was inspired by a Chi­nese sweet and sour as well as H2G2; Roden­bach and Mack­er­son (again).
      Have to say, though, that these days I don’t see the need.

  3. Again, not so much local as brew­ery-spe­cif­ic: I was at the New­field Inn at Seath­waite in the Dud­don Val­ley (see https://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/61066/ or https://whatpub.com/pubs/FUR/1255/newfield-inn-seathwaite) many years ago when it was a Theak­stons pub – at least, theirs were the only beers on offer. As I recall, there were just Best Bit­ter and Old Peculi­er, so I said to the land­lord that their beer I liked the best was XB and it was a shame it wasn’t avail­able. “I can make one for you,” he said. He went on to explain that XB is a mix­ture of two-thirds Best Bit­ter and one-third OP, and that’s what I drank for the remain­der of our stay.

  4. In late ‘60s – ear­ly ‘70s North Lon­don it was typ­i­cal­ly (Courage) light and (Courage Best) bit­ter .…..

    1. I was serv­ing that in the ear­ly nineties at the Clis­sold Arms in For­tis Green. There was also a mix of John Courage bot­tled bit­ter and Courage Best called a JC and B.

  5. In some Aus­tri­an pubs, it is pos­si­ble to order “a G’mischt’s” (ein Gemis­cht­es, lit. “a mixed one”), which is half-and-half pale and dark lager. It has become a lot less com­mon because Aus­tri­an dark lagers of the last few decades were rather sweet and have pret­ty much com­plete­ly fall­en out of fash­ion. I’ve heard that mix­ing pale and dark lager is also done in the Czech Repub­lic, but it’s noth­ing that I’ve ever come across in Ger­many.

    1. I came across mix­es of dark and pale lagers in Czechia, I was told it was the ori­gin of the Granat (Gar­net) “style”. They still exist in Ger­many too.

  6. No men­tion of Snakebite? Per­haps too chavvy for the gen­tle read­ers of BEER ;-)?
    Arti­cle got the brain being dredged for mem­o­ries of pub teeth cut­ting in 1970’s West Coun­try. Our stamp­ing ground was a cres­cent run­ning from the fringes of Wilt­shire, in a band tak­ing in the Dorset/Somerset bor­der, swing­ing down towards, but not reach­ing, the sea. Mere, Win­can­ton, Lang­port, Ilmin­ster, marked the north­ern edge; Cran­borne Chase, Shaftes­bury, Stur­min­ster New­ton, Dorch­ester, the south­ern. So quite a lot of mix­es involved cider.
    Even then Snakebite was regard­ed as a bit ‘chavvy’, long before that term was invent­ed. (Poor Man’s) Black Vel­vet was mod­er­ate­ly pop­u­lar, par­tic­u­lar­ly in pubs that had a rep­u­ta­tion for their Farm­house Cider being on the rougher of the rough side. Any bot­tled Stout would do, but as bot­tled Guin­ness was what most pubs stocked that was the pre­vail­ing choice. With draught Guin­ness mak­ing its way into even the most rur­al pubs at that time, some liked to ask for that com­bi­na­tion. But many land­lords refused to serve it as it was a pain to pour.
    Cider Top, with a half inch of lemon­ade or less fre­quent­ly gin­ger beer, was com­mon enough; but the most pop­u­lar ‘Top’ for cider at that time was Vim­to – usu­al­ly the fizzy ver­sion, but occa­sion­al­ly the cor­dial. As an aside, while pub­li­cans were allowed to charge extra for a beer with a (it was usu­al­ly) lemon­ade Top, even though the cheap­er lemon­ade was replac­ing some more expen­sive beer in the pint, it was not legal to charge for exact­ly the same Top process with cider. How that sit­u­a­tion came about have no idea.
    When peo­ple were look­ing for a seri­ous hit, Cider & Gin could be turned to. Don’t recall it hav­ing any spe­cial name, mere­ly Cider & Gin. The process start­ed with a pint of cider with a sin­gle gin; then often more shots of gin were grad­u­al­ly added as the glass went down, so end­ing up with some­thing that was more Gin & Cider.
    With lit­tle Mild around in our region, a Half ‘n’ Half was almost always a Bitter/Pale and Stout com­bi­na­tion, but nev­er heard it called that: always referred to as a Black & Tan, in that area in those days. Not to be so ordered in the ROI, obvi­ous­ly. Brown Split almost always used Mann’s Brown, again because that was the only bot­tled Brown most pubs seem to stock. More com­mon in Eldridge Pope/Palmers/Devenish areas, where plen­ty of locals did not par­tic­u­lar­ly rate their Bit­ters, than in Wadworth/Hall & Wood­house areas, I recall. Ush­ers (by then not inde­pen­dent, though the brew­ery at Trow­bridge remained oper­a­tional, and there were still pubs badged under that name), and Gibbs Mew (who still were inde­pen­dent), both had a smat­ter­ing of pubs with­in our drink­ing zone. Men­tion, because Gibbs Mew had one claim to fame: Bishop’s Tip­ple (a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent drink to what Wad­worth now put out under that name). It was avail­able on cask, and also bot­tled. Don’t remem­ber if they did a range of bot­tle sizes, but they def­i­nite­ly did a nip, because that was a pop­u­lar option to buy on the side to pour into one of their pints, espe­cial­ly in win­ter. Any­way, ” A Wilt­shire Nip, please,” (was it their Bit­ter was called Wilt­shire?, or just because they were based in Wilt­shire? – can’t recall), got you just that – a pint accom­pa­nied by a small bot­tle of Bishop’s Tip­ple.
    Whilst lime was the most usu­al cor­dial to go in Lager, black­cur­rant was not uncom­mon; and sim­ply called Lager & Black, though the resul­tant colour was more an unap­peal­ing shade of pinky puce.

  7. In Oxford in the 1980’s, many Mor­rells pubs did a good trade in “Light ‘n’ bit­ter” and in “Dark ‘n’ bit­ter”.
    These were Mor­rells Best Bit­ter with Mor­rells Light and Mor­rells Dark Mild.
    Youngs pubs in Oxford sell plen­ty of “Light Spe­cial”, which is a bot­tle of Light Ale in a half of Spe­cial.

  8. In Birm­ing­ham in the 80s a Mick­ey Mouse was – I think – half bitter/half lager

  9. I used to real­ly enjoy a Ram & Spe­cial in the Young’s pub round the cor­ner from my office back in the late 80s

  10. Snakebite was referred to as Red Diesel or just Diesel in more rur­al areas of the north.
    Ram & Spesh was the favourite in Epsom back in the 80’s I’m told.

      1. yep, thats what I under­stood a snakebite to be.
        Lowen­brau, Mer­ry­down, black­cur­rant.
        You can see why lots of land­lords were ret­i­cent to serve

  11. What do you call stout & bit­ter (or stout & red ale) if you’re in Ire­land and/or don’t want to risk offend­ing any­one?

    1. Peo­ple don’t mix their beer in Ire­land. Smithwick’s with a Guin­ness head exists, and it’s called “Smithwick’s with a Guin­ness head”.

    2. I remem­ber my father refer­ring to stout and bit­ter as a ‘moth­er-in-law’, which might risk offend­ing one per­son if you’re unlucky but not a whole coun­try.

    3. My dad did once ask for a Black and Tan in a Dublin pub, dur­ing the Trou­bles. Luck­i­ly, it was a very friend­ly Dublin pub and he got edu­cat­ed polite­ly, although at the cost of a large round and sev­er­al new friends. 😉

  12. At the Ship, Fitzrovia, Lon­don, they mix draft Per­oni and Cana­di­an Moose­head. The Canuck stuff is more a top­per. This is called the Wolf, I believe.

    Gary

  13. Old Pussy,Robinson’s Old Tom and bit­ter was a pop­u­lar drink in the Fal­con at Incline Row Aber­dare in the mid 2000’s and Son of a Dog,Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch and Bull­mas­tiff Mogadog,10% abv,was drunk at the Roy­al Hotel (RIP) in Penarth at about the same time

  14. A drink request­ed some­times in the Mid­lands in the 1970’s was a Legover,a mix of cider and Cher­ry B

  15. Black and Tan used to be pop­u­lar on Tyne­side – half and half McE­wans Best Scotch and Guin­ness.

  16. Snake bite and black was much more pop­u­lar with my unen­light­ened friends in Wok­ing when I were a lad than a plain snakebite. And occa­sion­al­ly some would have Guin­ness, cider and black. It had a big ice cream float head with uneven pur­ple colour­ing the white.

  17. On a more juve­nile note, I believe a thing in Cum­bria is to mix Jen­nings’ Sneck­lifter with Cock­er­hoop to form ‘Cock­lifter’ (sigh). I don’t know how wide­spread it is, but I had a pint of it bought for me in Poo­ley Bridge on Ull­swa­ter and nobody bat­ted an eye­lid. It’s alright but more of an oppor­tu­ni­ty for an innu­en­do than a gen­uine improve­ment of either.

  18. My beer drink­ing appren­tice­ship was served in East Kent in the mid to late 70s. Real ale was Sheps or, if you were lucky, Whit­bread hous­es served Frem­lins, tak­en over by them in the 60s but still brew­ing local­ly in Faver­sham . Frem­lins bit­ter was a love­ly cask pint, but if you want­ed a bit of a kick before you your­self were kicked out at 10 30 dur­ing the week, or the Frem­lins was a bit lack­lus­tre, you asked for a Coun­ty Ale and bit­ter. Coun­ty Ale was a deli­cious fruity strong ale, from the same brew­ery, orig­i­nal­ly a draught beer, but lat­ter­ly in a half pint (?) bot­tle. It was a love­ly com­bi­na­tion. You knew the pub was a good one if the land­lord poured a gen­er­ous half before he opened the Coun­ty Ale. Equal­ly if the bas­tard poured your bot­tle into the dim­pled pint glass first, tossed the bot­tle in the bin then topped the glass up with bit­ter, he was a tight sod and you wouldn’t go back to his pub in a hur­ry. Luck­i­ly one pub I fre­quent­ed employed an old school mate as a bar­man, and he’d pull a full pint before tak­ing the top off the Coun­ty Ale and hand­ing it to you with a wink. Gen­er­ous serv­ings aside, part of the fun was top­ping up the bit­ter your­self, organ­is­ing the increased strength to your own sat­is­fac­tion , and enjoy­ing the foamy head each time you added some. A sim­i­lar drink was Eng­lish Ale and bit­ter. Eng­lish Ale being anoth­er quite strong bot­tled beer from Whit­bread, mar­ket­ed as being ide­al for dia­bet­ics, as most of the carbs were turned to alco­hol, so they said. Don’t know about that but it was a nice bot­tled beer and livened up many a dull pint.

  19. In my youth (ear­ly eight­ies) I recall a Snakebite of Mer­ry­down Vin­tage Cider & Carls­berg Spe­cial Brew being called ‘Brain Dam­age’; quite pos­si­bly an accu­rate descrip­tion of the con­se­quences of let­ting it pass your lips. I don think I ever tast­ed it, hav­ing a deep seat­ed feel­ing noth­ing good could ever come of drink­ing it. Those I did wit­ness drink­ing it would soon appear pos­sessed by the spir­it of a lum­ber­ing man-beast intent on pin­ning the tail of a don­key on their very soul while under­go­ing an exor­cism. Basi­cal­ly it got you quite drunk quite quick­ly.

  20. In Northaller­ton in N. York­shire, one of the Theak­stons pubs offered a pint of ‘Stan­datd’ which was half Ordi­nary Bit­ter and half Old Peculi­er; jus­ti­fied by the OP improv­ing an aver­age beer, and the aver­age beer took some of the alco­holic edge off the OP – this was a pub next to an Indi­an Restau­rant where you could go, after plac­ing your order in the restau­rant, have a cou­ple of pints and when your food was ready for the table, a mem­ber of staff would come into the pub and let you know the food was ready to be served.
    A cou­ple of years lat­er I was drink­ing in the Bell in Not­ting­ham City Cen­tre and they were aware of this beer mix.
    Back in the days of teenage drink­ing in the excel­lent Prince Albert in Park Road, Low­est­oft (worth an arti­cle on its own for its archi­tec­ture and design of its bar fit­tings), a spe­cial­ty of the house was their ‘Spe­cial Shandy’ which was served in a half pint straight glass and con­sist­ed of half Adnams Bit­ter, half lemon­ade (obvi­ous­ly) but with the added ingre­di­ent of a shot of Angos­tu­ra Bit­ters which took the sweet­ness off the lemon­ade and replaced it with a spicey, gin­gery flavour; I think it came with a slice of lemon as well – per­haps a fore­run­ner of in the mid 70’s of Alcopops

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