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Session #3 announced: Misunderstood Mild

The SessionJay Brooks has made his pick for our third round of Friday beer blogging.

The theme is “Mysterious Misunderstood Mild.” He picked it to coincide with CAMRA’s May promotion, Mild Month, writing:

“Saturday the 5th will also be National Mild Day on the other side of the pond. For those of us here in the colonies, we may have a harder time finding a mild to review. But several craft brewers do make one, even if they don’t always call it a mild.”

May 5 is also National Homebrew Day and Big Brew for homebrewers.

Although milds are usually, well, mild and low in alcohol, they don’t have to be. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) classifies milds as English brown ales. The guidelines note that most are 3.1 to 3.8% abv, but lists Gale’s Festival Mild as an example. That beer is 5.6% abv.

The Brewers Association Style Guidelines (for commercial brewers) on the other hand state that both pale and dark milds should be between 3.2 and 4% abv. English-style brown ales may be 4 to 5.5% abv.

The bottom line, as you may have noticed with Day of the Dubbels, is that we’re not going to be style Nazis about this. Find a beer, drink it, write about it.

10 Responses to Session #3 announced: Misunderstood Mild

  1. Donavan April 10, 2007 at 1:45 pm #

    For National Homebrew Day last year I brewed a “Mild Saison” that was around 4% ABV. I’m looking forward to this one. I already have two NY beers in mind. Cheers!

  2. Stan Hieronymus April 10, 2007 at 1:50 pm #

    Interesting, Donavan. I probably don’t want to start writing about homebrew in The Session, but I do have a 4% abv beer (99% pils, 1% Munich, no sugar) I made, inspired mostly from tasting the Westmalle Exra brewed for monks consumption.

    A lot different that a CAMRA-certified mild ;>)

  3. Lew Bryson April 11, 2007 at 4:15 am #

    Cheers to Jay for the idea!

    It’s beginning to look a lot like homebrew, Stan…I’m going to be in San Diego for a homebrew conference that day, and I may be wrong, but I suspect that homebrewed mild is going to be my best bet in Stone City.

    Mild Thing…I think I love you…

  4. Loren April 11, 2007 at 4:16 am #

    Is it truly a misunderstood style…or more of a forgotten style? Especially here in the US where the focus in more recent years has clearly been on *gulp* bigger and bolder styles.

    A perfectly executed Mild Ale is seriously a thing of beauty.

    Another session reading to look forward to.


  5. Stan Hieronymus April 11, 2007 at 6:12 am #

    Lew, Dawn Patrol Dark (about 4% abv) from Pizza Port in Solano Beach won a silver medal in English Style Mild Ale at the 2006 World Beer Cup.

    Who would have thunk it?

  6. Donavan April 11, 2007 at 7:39 am #

    The Abbey Single out at Southampton is based (as you know) on the Westmalle Extra. It’s easily the lowest alcohol beer brewed on the Island. It will be a challenge to find commercial examples of milds state side. They’ll be scarce on Long Island unless one of the brewpubs decides to put one on for May. This might be a good test to see how much influence the beer writers have over/on the brewers. (Not holding my breath.)

  7. Stan Hieronymus April 11, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    We need a little more lead time, I guess.

    Although a mild from a brewpub could surely be ready to drink inside of 3 weeks. I’ve had plenty of brewpub beers that were younger than that.

  8. Jeff Alworth May 17, 2007 at 9:38 am #

    Milds don’t really exist in Oregon, for a couple reasons. Since we don’t tax on the basis of alcohol, there’s no commercial impetus. But more significantly, people in the Northwest like their beverages strong. You should be able to stand a spoon up in your coffee and your beer’s head should be mossy-green from the hops. Whenever a “mild” beer hits the market, it’s at least 5%. Full Sail’s “Session,” specifically designed to be a, well, session, is five and a half. And BrigePort’s new “Haymaker” is described as an extra pale, but is only .2% lighter than the brewery’s IPA. (Both beers, it can be said, are a little out of range.)

    Milds don’t exist here. We could write about their absence, but that’s not the same as writing about them.

  9. Stan Hieronymus May 17, 2007 at 3:11 pm #

    Given how loudly Fred Eckhardt has beat the drum for low-alcohol session beers that they haven’t taken hold in Portland probably means they aren’t going to.


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    […] Milds. At 5.7%, the alcohol content isn’t exactly mild, but luckily there aren’t any Style Nazis out […]

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