By Martyn Cornell
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Extra info for Amber, Gold & Black: The History of Britain’s Great Beers
Mild ale’, The Brewer’s Art said, ‘is a draught beer brewed for quick consumption’. Milds were and are frequently lower-hopped than other beers, because their speedy turnover meant that they do not need high hop levels to repel bugs that would make them go sour. The 1908 edition of the American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades said ‘London four ale’, or mild, so called because of its price in the public bar of 4d a quart, was brewed at an OG of 1053 to 1057 and 13oz to 1lb 4oz of hops per (US) barrel, a maximum of 1lb 13oz an imperial barrel, less than half the quantity of hops compared to pale ale/bitter, where the rate was at least 2lb 3oz an imperial barrel.
The 1908 edition of the American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades said ‘London four ale’, or mild, so called because of its price in the public bar of 4d a quart, was brewed at an OG of 1053 to 1057 and 13oz to 1lb 4oz of hops per (US) barrel, a maximum of 1lb 13oz an imperial barrel, less than half the quantity of hops compared to pale ale/bitter, where the rate was at least 2lb 3oz an imperial barrel. However, it is very possible to have a well-hopped mild. Thomas Sydenham, the seventeenth-century English physician sometimes called the English Hippocrates, drank small beer, ‘soft and mild’ but ‘well-hopped’, at both dinner and supper on the grounds that it formed ‘an excellent diluent with food’, according to William Brande, and ‘he justly considered its being well hopped as possessing an important advantage’.
In 1959 draught mild still outsold draught bitter nationally by two pints to one, and draught bitter represented only one pint in five of total beer consumption. Within six years, however, by 1965 bitter had overtaken mild to become the country’s most popular beer style. Ten years later bitter peaked at just over 60 per cent of draught beer sales. Soon after the first new microbrewers began in Britain and quickly there were more different makes of bitter available than there had been for decades.