As mentioned previously on the blog, May is CAMRA's Mild Month, and throughout the month I have been sampling the rare and not so rare milds available to local drinkers.
They have ranged from the often seen Thwaites 'Nutty Slack' to the very rare Corvedale 'Dark & Delicious'. I have not intended to make a comparison between them all, obviously I prefer some more than others but all have been part of an interesting experience in drinking beers that are often overlooked in favour of their more hoppy counterparts.
Tetley Mild, for example, is becoming a rarity with its light malt and caramel flavours, but well worth hunting out. Hydes 'Owd Oak' is fruity and biscuity, and Timothy Taylor's Mild combines flavours found in both. Olde Swan 'Original' is a light mild, with a nice balance of hops and malts, Ossett 'Millbridge Mild' a dark, malty beer with plenty of taste.
These are all milds below 4% but all manage to pack flavour into the beer. The real classics in my opinion come from beers brewed above the 4% barrier - the dark, malty gems that really showcase the brewers talents. I have already mentioned the 4.6% 'Dark & Delicious', found at the Halifax beer festival, but rarely seen outside the Sun Inn at Corvedale; Newby Wyke have brewed 'Black Funnel Mild' weighing in at 5% and packed with roasted malt flavour and black as pitch; and even the newer breweries have got in on the act.
Five Towns of Outwood produced 'Pitstack', at 4.6% a beer to be treated with respect but again black and dry and without the sweetness associated with some milds; Northern Brewing produced the 4.1% 'Fruit Mild', packed with berry flavours with a dark background; and Fernandes of Wakefield brewed 'Merrie City Mild' at 5% but in my opinion lacking some of the interesting flavours showcased in other milds.
Whatever your taste, there will be a mild to suit it. Don't just take my word, if you see one, try it and find out for yourself.