Days to American Mild Month

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'...?