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.