Beer styles

Hot Pub Time Machine

Sign outside a Plymouth pub advertising Courage Dark Mild

Wandering through Plymouth’s Altstadt, aka the Barbican, we stopped dead at the site of the sign outside the Queen’s Arms:

Special….. Courage “Dark Mild” sold here.

Courage Dark Mild? Really? We had to see for ourselves and, at any rate, needed a post fish-and-chips pint, so in we went.

We found ourselves in a clean, tidy pub which looked very like the one Bailey’s parents ran in Exeter in the early 1980s: velvet seat covers, dark wood, pickled eggs and high Victorian ceilings. The landlady greeted us cheerfully; the grizzled regulars at the end of the bar (possibly pirates) eyed us with suspicion.

We ordered Courage Dark Mild which was, indeed, on offer, albeit in keg form, alongside cask Bass and keg Courage Best Bitter. The antique pumpclips suggesting that someone put in a recurring order for those beers in about 1988 which has been magically fulfiled ever since.

You might be surprised to hear that it tasted pretty bloody good. As others have pointed out, mild benefits from cask conditioning perhaps even more than many other types of ale but, even so, this keg variant was fruity, dark and (being served pretty cold) very refreshing. It’s by no means complex but the darkness was from something other than a slug of caramel: there was a burned, roasted edge which made us want another.

How much Courage Dark Mild is actually being brewed? And are any other pubs in the country selling it?



1. This isn’t the first time capsule pub we’ve come across.

2. the pub wasn’t hot – a bit chilly if anything – but the truth cannot get in the way of a punning post title.


People who really know beer…

1968 advert for kegged Courage bitter.

Another advertistement scanned from the 1968 Journal of the XI Hussars. Weird. We thought we did know a bit about beer, but we rarely drink Courage if we can help it, kegged or otherwise. Anyone for a pint of Tavern?

Beer history london marketing

Yet more pub livery photos

All of the bits and pieces of brewery and pub marketing below were spotted in East or South London. I wonder if people in 50 years time will find remnants of Wetherspoons branding so evocative? Probably.

A window in Kennington advertising Bass beer on draught

A pub in Vauxhall advertising fine ales and stout

A pub in Vauxhall advertising Courage fine ales

Old pub livery: Truman's Noted Burton Brewed Ales

Truman beers and ales sign, at Chrisp Street Market, Poplar

marketing News

Naughty adverts

Tandleman and Pete Brown have both written about the fact that the Advertising Standards Authority have upheld complaints against this advert for Courage bitter:


But I can’t help but be reminded of the kerfuffle around this advert, from the same parent company, three years ago:


Given how clear the rules are about linking alcohol with increased attractiveness or confidence, these can’t be mistakes. I’ve seen the Courage ad more in the news today than I have in paid for advertising slots anywhere in the last few weeks. Contrived controversy = free publicity.