In addition to being a rather pedantic and borderline obsessive beer spotter, I also have an enduring love of lists. (Sorry ladies, I'm taken).
I try to limit the number of times that I burden other people with my latest list, but I always end up convincing myself that they might be interested. In this post, there is a list coming up.
When I started getting fully [fully] into Ratebeer in 2004, I quickly morphed from someone only interested in European beer, to someone also interested only in UK cask ales also please. One style in particular what fascinated me was Mild - that most unloved and dwindling member of the beer family. I didn't know much about Mild, apart from that myth about it being constructed from the dregs of other brews. In order to be (slightly) contrary, I started to identify myself as a Mild fan, and hunted them out like a randy dog.
Luckily my Mild odyssey coincided with something of a Mild revival, which made my job easier. Perhaps because CAMRA were so successful in keeping the style alive, the novelty started to wear off. Due to this, sometime around the 100 Mild mark, I started to resist their arguable charm, and instead indulged my rising hop lust. I was being honest with myself: Milds were too mild for me.
It is at this moment in time, that I revisit my Mild heritage. How many of the Milds that scored the highest are even in existence now? How many would I actually seek out nowadays? After reviewing my historical ratings, here are my top ten:
1. Custom Beers Smooth Mild (4.4/5)
Well, this brewery went out of business in 2008, which is a shame as I remember this Mild being quite hoppy and deliciously smooth
2. Belvoir Star Mild (4.3/5)
I remember necking a pint of this delicious fellow at the Swan and Rushes: Leicestershire (well, Rutland) beer in a Leicester pub. Can't be bad. This one is still around and when fresh, is delicious.
3. Iceni Thetford Forest Mild (4.3/5)
A nice Norfolk drop, which seems to still be doing the rounds.
4. Beartown Ambeardextrous (4.2/5)
Strangely enough, this brewery used to be one of my favourites. This Mild is no longer listed on their website.
5. Spinning Dog Muttleys Dark (4.2/5)
The brewery is now renamed Hereford, and it seems that this milkshakey Mild is still going.
6. Banks and Taylor Black Dragon Mild (4.2/5)
Well this oily beauty is definitely still around.
7. Potbelly Beijing Black (4.2/5)
I remember this brewery first arriving on the scene, and the burnt power of this tasty number. It's still going.
8. Iceni Men of Norfolk (4.2/5)
Another Norfolk Mild, this time a big beautiful beast. Another stayer.
9. Derventio Maia Mild (4.2/5)
10. Otter Mild (4.2/5)
Well, this is a fairly new one, sampled during a JDW fest, with pleasure.
Other faves, just outside my top 10 include: Grainstore Rutland
Panther, Everards Mild, Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild, Church End Grave
Diggers, Teignworthy Marthas Mild and Rugby 1823.
Hmmm, in starting this post I expected to report that all of my favourites were no longer in existence - a metaphor for my lost Mild love. In fact, they are still around, bar Custom Smooth, which is a shame.
Even so, on the (rare) occasions when I do sup a Mild nowadays, it's because I'm curious to see what the new lads are doing with the style. But if anything, I want to go out now and sample a few old faves, which is most unlike me. Nostalgia is powerful indeed, but we already knew that, right?