The first Friday of each month brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month Fuggled hosts, giving us the topic Localising Mild:
An essential element of the American Mild is that it uses American malts, hops, and the clean yeast strain that is commonly used over here. Like the development of many a beers style around the world, American Mild is the localisation of a beer from elsewhere, giving a nod to the original, but going its own way.
That then is the crux of the theme for The Session in May, how would you localise mild? What would an Irish, Belgian, Czech, or Australian Mild look like? Is anyone in your country making such a beer? For homebrewers, have you dabbled in cross-cultural beer making when it comes to mild?
What almost was
Let’s travel backwards in time, to before we were open (fitting, consider our third anniversary party is Saturday). Back to when our pale ale was named “In C” and not “Frank”. Free love reigned, all the kids wore bell bottoms and Archie’s “Sugar Sugar” was on every hi-fi.
One day our motion alarm went off. Nobody was there. And again. And again. Eventually we realized we were playing host to nemesis of penguins everywhere: a bat. In tribute to our probably-rabies-infested friend Rudy named our prototype porter “Release the Bats”.
Rudy decided to get fancy and do a “partigyle”, using the same grain to make two beers: one stronger, one weaker (though the U.S./home brewer definition isn’t quite what the traditional one was). Release the Bats would be the stronger, and the weaker would be a mild.
A prototype of Starchild Mild debuted, along with Release the Bats, at the 2011 Amber Waves of Grain awards banquet. We liked it. I liked it, which seems even more important.
And then… We didn’t make it again.
The path of yeast resistance
Beer has four main ingredients: water, fire, earth and heart. Wait. Water, barley, hops and yeast. Different yeasts can change the character of a beer quite a bit: we’ve done some test batches to let you see this in action.
The problem with Release the Bats and Starchild Mild was that they used a British yeast (1028/013 London Ale if that’s you’re thing), whereas In C/Frank used an American strain. It’s certainly possible for a brewery to have multiple yeast strains — we do now! — but when we were just starting we wanted to keep things simple. No need to overly complicate things when we had enough on our plates just learning how to do this whole “brewery” thing.
And then our second beer became The Whale, and a brown ale and a porter seemed too similar (“Stout Affe-“- shut up). The two beers got shelved, never to be seen from again.
A mild summer?
In preparation for writing this I asked Rudy if he had any plans to resurrect Starchild. As it turns out, he just got “some nice British malt to play around with”. Starchild? It should make a return “soon-ish”.
It probably won’t make American Mild Month, but then our winter beer will still be available in early May, so we obviously play fast and loose with this sort of thing.
As it was foretold, the Starchild shall return!