This time, we tasted three bottled milds from Dudley, Nottingham and Wolverhampton, the latter from both can and bottle.
The Midlands is a part of the UK where (in our admittedly limited experience) mild still feels alive — where ‘pubby’ pubs seem to have one on draught and might even offer a choice of different brands, or different types of mild. (See Barm’s 2014 account of exploring ‘England’s Franconia‘ for more on this.)
Unfortunately — or, actually, maybe we mean fortunately? — lots of Midlands milds are cask beers by definition and either don’t seem to make it into bottles, or the bottles are hard to come by. The selection we managed to scrape together includes something from the supermarket mainstream, a mild with something of a cult reputation, and an outlying ‘crafty’-looking beer that isn’t sure exactly what it is.
We purchased all of these from Beers of Europe online:
- Banks’s Mild (can, 3.5%, £1.49, 500ml)
- Bank’s Mild (bottle, 3.5%, £1.69, 500ml)
- Holden’s Black Country Mild (£2.09, 3.7%, £2.09, 500ml)
- Blue Monkey 99 Red Baboons (£2.99, 4.2%, 500ml)
Taking them in order of ABV, we started with Banks’s (part of the Marston’s empire but still brewed in Wolverhampton, as far as we can tell) and decided to drink the can and bottle side by side in pint glasses.