The Bristol & District branch of CAMRA, in the southwest of England, pulled out all the stops for its Mild in May promotion.
It adopted a passport theme, providing a pocket-sized booklet that participants could fill in as they drank mild in different pubs. There were organized social evenings for group mild tastings over the course of the month, so drinkers could go on their own or with friends.
At least 47 pubs took part, in this, the fourth Mild in May for the region, and around 210 participants joined in.
Every year after we do this, we hope we have a few more mild drinkers because people mostly drink bitter and golden ales in this part of the world,” said Peter Bridle, membership secretary for the branch. “Mild is … not commonly available in southwest England, so we’re sure that by doing this we’re making this beer style more commonly available. It’s opening people’s eyes to the fact that there are more beer styles out there.”
People appreciate local produce and people have had it up to here with national brands of bland lagers,” continued Bridle. “There’s a lot of innovation in brewing in the U.K.—far more than there’s ever been. There is an increase in mild, and a lot of breweries are now producing mild. I wouldn’t say they’re all doing it but I think we’ll see more.”
The Nottingham branch of CAMRA also ran a Mild in May promotion, but that was less surprising, since Nottingham sits in the heart of the Midlands in a former coal-mining area where mild would have enjoyed popularity. Leaflets advertising the event showed a trail of all 58 pubs that were taking part.
More than half of the pubs serve mild as a regular, but thanks to the campaign, more of Nottingham’s pubs have started selling mild over the years. They put it on as a test and often find it’s so well liked that they keep it on as a regular all year, said David Mason, vice chairman of this branch.
Selections include Rock Mild from Nottingham Brewery, a 3.8 percent beer, described as “smooth and dark with a biscuity flavor;” Black Gold from Castle Rock Brewery, also 3.8 percent, which is a “dark mild ale with some bitterness, full bodied, but not overly sweet;” and Midnight Mild from Magpie Brewery, a 4.4 percent, nutty ale.
“Mild seems to be still taking off,” said Mason. “It’s mostly the small companies that cotton on to this because they know what’s happening in a local level.” The smaller breweries can also easily and regularly switch the beers they’re producing, he added.
And it’s taking off with everyone, he said. There are older people who’ve drunk mild their whole lives, but also younger people, at least a quarter of them women.
Born and raised in the United Kingdom and now a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Amanda Baltazar has been surrounded by beer her entire life.