Exmoor Ales is greeting 2018 with the release of a mild — the first time the Wiveliscombe-based brewery has ever produced this historical style, which up until the 1950s dominated bar-tops.
At 3.5% ABV, the beer is low in alcohol as well as being soft in its malt character, and is perfect for the new year — a comforting and homely pint that demands to be tried by those drinkers who might be looking for something different from the pale-coloured beers that all too often dominate the pumpclip parade of many a pub.
Emerging in the 19th century, mild has suffered a drop in sales since its heyday in the first half of the 20th century, and is nowadays a rare sight outside its traditional heartland of the West Midlands, which is where the brewery’s Managing director, Jonathan Price, comes from.
He said: “Part of the motive for brewing a mild comes a little from my Midlands heritage. When I was a youngster starting out drinking, the only choice on bars was bitter or mild, though the mild could be very variable from pub to pub as typically it had the reputation of being the beer in which any old ‘beer slops’ were recycled! Thankfully, the days of those practices are long behind us, and mild should be treated and presented consistently in pubs to give the style a chance again.
“However, the main reason for brewing a mild now is because of the hugely broadened perspective of beer drinkers who are eager to give new (or revived) styles a chance. This is reflected in the remarkably high interest in our mild, which has surprised and delighted us.”
Head brewer, Adrian Newman, and his assistant, Tom Davis, were tasked with producing the mild. For him, the beer’s low alcoholic strength makes it an ideal session beer. “At 3.5% this means you can have more pints to get to your 22 units a week,” Adrian joked, but more seriously, he also says that the beer is a result from visiting pubs and hearing drinkers ask for darker beers.
As well as being available from the brewery, Exmoor Mild is available nationally through Molson Coors’ free trade sales in January and February, as well as being available to all Enterprise pub tenants.
Given that mild is usually promoted by CAMRA in May, Jonathan is also keen to show that the beer is an ideal fit for January, traditionally a time of lower beer consumption in the aftermath of Christmas. “We have the Dry January campaign, which might be well meaning but is not good for pubs. I’d like to think that our mild is more Try January than Dry January.”