Days to American Mild Month

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

American Mild Month 2016

Yes it is on!

As a refresher, American Mild Month is all about encouraging American breweries to brew and have available during May one of the following beer styles:
As well as encouraging pro brewers to make mild, we are encouraging homebrewers to also make an 'American Mild' as part of the International Homebrew Project, details of which can be found over on Fuggled.

We are contacting breweries to see if they are interested in joining the project, and will be updating the map and list of participating breweries in the coming days. If your brewery hasn't heard from us yet, feel free to contact us through the form in the right rail.

Friday, March 6, 2015

An American Mild?

The project is called American Mild Month because we want to encourage brewers and drinkers in the US to brew and drink mild ale, but it could also be read as a project to create a new beer style, the 'American Mild'.

It seems almost oxymoronic in this day of ever more extreme beers to advocate for a style as restrained as mild, but here goes anyway, what would an American Mild look like...?

Let's start with color. The SRM numbers for English milds range from 6 to 34, which is basically the entire spectrum of beer. The majority of milds though fall in the dark category, starting at 17 SRM, which is a deep orange to amber color. An American mild then would be deep amber, with red in the mix as well, veering up to brown at the upper limit.

Alcoholic restraint is a hallmark of the modern mild ale, and we believe that an American mild should follow that tradition, topping out at 4.5% abv. We imagine most American milds would fall between 3.5% and 4.5% abv.

Everyone knows that many modern American beers are very hop centric while mild ales tend to be very restrained when it comes to both IBUs and hop perception, remember the official description from GABF...
Hop aroma is very low...Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low
Clearly then the American Mild is not a hop bomb, but neither need it be a hop free zone. 'Low' is not the same as 'none', it is all about restraint, and with the wide variety of American hops available the range of hop flavors is actually quite broad, whether its the spiciness of Cluster, the grapefruit of Amarillo, or the tropical fruit of El Dorado, there is room here for differentiation, and dry hopping is ok too. Remember though, before going crazy with the hops, an American Mild is not a Session IPA, or a Session Cascadian Dark Ale, it's still a mild. Traditional English milds top out at 25 IBUs, but for an American Mild we would suggest an upper limit of 30 IBUs.

One major departure from the English mild style in a theoretical American mild is the yeast. The classic American yeast strain used by many an American craft brewery is known for being very clean, allowing the other ingredients to shine through without contributing the fruity flavors of the British yeasts.

So there we go, a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through.

At the end of the day drinkability is the key feature of an American Mild.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Got Mild?

American Mild Month is about encouraging brewers and drinkers alike to discover the delights of mild, perhaps the single most neglected beer style in the US craft beer scene.

But how do you know if you are drinking mild?

Mild is traditionally an English style of beer, and back in the mists of time, 'mild' simply meant that the beer in your glass was young, yet to be ravaged by the onset of age and to become 'old'. These days though, 'mild' generally means a low alcohol beer that is generally dark and very much on the malty side, though pale versions do exist in the UK.

The accepted definitions for English milds at the Great American Beer Festival are as follows, start with Pale Mild:

English Pale Milds are light amber to medium amber. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Fruity-ester aroma is very low to medium low. Hop aroma is very low or low. Malt flavor dominates the flavor profile. Hop flavor is very low to low. Hop bitterness is very low to low. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester flavor is very low to medium low. Body is low to low-medium.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9.0 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1.0-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-20
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6-9 (12-18 EBC)
And now to the Dark Side
English Dark Milds are reddish brown to very dark. Fruity-ester aroma is very low to medium low. Malt and caramel are part of the aroma while licorice and roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to aroma profile. Hop aroma is very low. Malt flavor and caramel are part of the flavor profile while licorice and roast malt tones may also contribute. Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester flavor is very low to medium low. Body is low-medium to medium.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.030-1.036 (7.6-9.0 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.004-1.008 (1.0-2.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.7%-3.4% (3.4%-4.4%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 10-24
  • Color SRM (EBC) 17-34 (34-68 EBC)
Other than color, we are looking at broadly similar beers, malt to the fore, hops in the background, and drinkability a key feature. That is the focus of American Mild Month, enjoying flavorful, low alcohol beer with friends, whether that's in the pub or a brewery tasting room.

But what about 'American Mild'...?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Introducing....American Mild Month

Each May in the United Kingdom, the Campaign for Real Ale encourages beer drinkers to hit the pubs and enjoy pints of mild ale.

Here in the United States, mild ale is practically a forgotten beer, lost in a sea of strong hoppy ales whether pale, amber, dark, or otherwise.

Therefore we are declaring May to be American Mild Month.

We want breweries to make mild ales, whether pale, amber, or dark, all colors are welcome in Mild Month, and we want beer drinkers to hunt out these ales and enjoy them with friends.

In the coming posts we'll be talking about what defines a mild ale, the breweries that are participating in the project, and the beers they are making for May.