Hidden in Eastern Europe and forgotten for centuries, the fruity, slightly sweet, and full-bodied õlu, or beer, made by the Seto people is reminiscent of British Mild Ale, Kvass, a beverage made from fermented bread, and even root beer.
Carlsberg’s Carl Jacobsen had clearly been impressed by what he’d seen on his travels and brought back an enthusiasm for British ales. So much enthusiasm that he started brewing ales alongside the lagers you would expect.
Whitbread created one of the most useful documents for anyone interested in the history of British beer: their Gravity Book. In it, they documented thousands of samples of competitors’ beers, from the early 1920s to the late 1960s.
While America’s ales had their roots in Britain, they slowly began to adapt and change in their new home. By the 1890s, there were significant differences in the way British and American ale breweries operated and the equipment they used.
What’s slightly surprising to see in old British newspapers is that the strongest Mild is called “Imperial.” Especially as I’ve been calling XXXX Ale “Imperial Mild” for a while now. I thought I was just making it up. Once again, history has proved that there’s almost nothing genuinely new.
You might be surprised at some of the multitude of forms Mild Ale has taken. Many were about as dissimilar from the modern version as you can imagine. But let’s get one thing straight first: The name Mild has nothing to do with low gravity or low hopping rates.
Mild needs an aggressive public relations campaign, an image consultant, maybe even a personal trainer. Otherwise, one of the world’s most misunderstood beer styles will never shed its reputation for mediocrity.