If you are an ale or beer connoisseur, chances are you’ve at least heard of Mild Ales. Although they have suffered a decline in popularity since the 1960s, Mild Ales are coming back to the scene thanks to a modern ale renaissance in the form of microbreweries. The term “mild” is used as an umbrella to refer to any drink that is young or unaged.
It doesn’t refer to a specific style, but for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on Mild Ales. It’s important to note that Light Mild Ales will not be considered for this article and we will instead be focusing on their bitter, ‘true’ Mild Ale counterparts. To be considered for this list, a brew has to be dark colored and have an ABV between 3% and 3.6%.
So just how is Mild Ale made? Typically, a Mild Ale is mild malt or pale malt based. They usually have a blend of crystal malt, chocolate malt, black malt, and/or dark brewing sugars. Ingredients vary by the strength of the desired brew, with heavier ingredients typically reserved for darker ales. Mild Ales are lightly hopped and usually have a low alcohol content. Mild Ales with a higher ABV are rarely brewed. This type of brew is most common in England (particularly London and the Midlands), but it has begun spreading to the United States in recent times.
Mild Ales usually have a full flavor with notes of toasty malts or savory grains. The head on a Mild Ale should be nearly still due to low carbonation levels. Because of its full flavor, it pairs well with more savory foods. Things like peppery cheese and grilled meats make great companions to a cold Mild Ale. If you’re looking to host a backyard BBQ soon, consider swapping your usual brew for a Mild Ale!
Now, onto the list. The Mild Ales compiled here all meet the following specifications:
1. Hogshead Barge’s Mild – ABV 3.5%
The first Mild Ale of the list comes from Hogshead Brewery located in Colorado, USA. It has a full flavor with notes of several dark fruits including dates and plums. The flavor is further enhanced by caramel and toffee to provide a sweet edge, rounding off with a toasty malt base. The brew had earthy tones and is a clean drink with a roasted, warm, bitter taste. Fans of this Mild Ale note it has a very complex aroma and is incredibly smooth, pairing well with peppered foods.
2. Dark Star Over the Moon – ABV 3.8%
With an ABV just a hair over what’s considered traditional, this Mild Ale comes from Dark Star/Fullers Brewery located in West Sussex, England. Despite the slightly higher ABV, it was a very traditional full flavor. There are hints of caramel and chocolate pairing with berries, citrus, and dark fruits. It has a slight spicy flavor and is bittersweet, with a dry finish. Fans of this brew consider it to be an easy mild with a rich aroma.
3. York Centurion’s Ghost Ale (in Cask) – ABV 5.4%
Note: For the purposes of this list, we’re considering the casked version of this Mild Ale to be better than its bottled counterpart.
This brew comes from York Brewery located in North Yorkshire, England and has a fairly high ABV for a Mild Ale. It has a very full flavor with a mellow roast that is well-balanced by autumn fruits. The bitterness in this Mild Ale is light, balanced with a gentle chocolate and woodsy tones. Light hints of molasses and prune linger after drinking. Fans of the ale note it tastes smooth and sweet, with a roasted malt aroma.
4. Machine House Mild – ABV 3.7%
Going back to Mild Ales with a lower ABV, this brew comes from Machine House Brewery located in Washington, USA. Considered to have a very traditional Mild Ale flavor profile, it has mild hoppiness with a full flavor. Rich chocolate mingles with a hint of coffee to create smooth sip. The body is full with a nice hint of toast and toffee, creating a complex drink. Fans of this Mild Ale note that it’s an easy drink, but rich in flavor and has a nutty aroma.
5. First Magnitude Drift English Mild – ABV 4.9%
Brewed by First Magnitude Brewing Company located in Florida, USA, this Mild Ale is malt-focused and brewed with a traditional English Mild in mind. Its complex malt profile doesn’t stop the drink from having a medium body perfect for all sorts of weather, enhanced by notes of roasted nuts and caramel. What it lacks in usual fruity flavors it more than makes up for with a clean sip and just a hint of hoppy bitterness. Roasted grain, brown malt, and Americano round off the rich flavors of this Mild Ale. Fans of the brew are impressed with the light, chocolatey caramel aroma and note you should drink it cooled (but not cold) to fully appreciate all the flavors.
6. Tired Hands Moon Trip – ABV 4.0%
A Mild Ale with a beautiful golden color, this brew hails from Tired Hands Brewing Company located in Pennsylvania, USA. The taste is mild and enhanced with notes of honey and nuttiness. Just a touch of fruity flavor and woodsy tone create a clean, slightly hoppy taste. Toffee, biscuits, and sweet malty tones enhance the full flavor of this Mild Ale. Fans of this particular brew have noted a sweet, yet savory aroma reminiscent of pretzels, honey, and sweet malts.
7. Teignworthy Martha’s Mild – ABV 5.3%
The last (but certainly not least) Mild Ale on this list comes to us from the Teignworthy Brewery located in Devon, England. It is a bit sweeter than most of the others on this list, but has traditional biscuit flavors mixed with hazelnut. Butterscotch, apple, and caramel further round out the puzzling flavor. Finished off with chocolate malt and dough, very little hoppy flavor. Fans of the complex brew consider the aroma to be nutty and doughy with hints of fresh fruit; the ale is a bit thin, but the smoky sweet flavor draws you in.
If you’re looking for a change to your normal fridge stock, consider swapping a case of your usual brew for one of these delicious Mild Ales. Mild Ales are definitely making a comeback. Impress your friends with your knowledge of the once-forgotten brew, perfect for pairing with savory meals and cold weather. Not only do these Mild Ales taste delicious, they look beautiful when poured into a sparkling pint glass–spice up your table with one of these selections and enjoy a lightly hopped, full-bodied Mild Ale! We know you’ll enjoy these suggestions and hopefully this list has inspired you to order a Mild Ale next time you’re at the bar.