Thursday, April 1, 2010

English Mild at Fratellos

Here’s what's most important about the English Mild currently on tap at Fratellos in Oshkosh: It’s a great beer.

Now for a little context. Mild Ale is a low-alcohol, subdued, yet flavorful beer that’s made for quaffing. Once the largest selling style of ale in England, its popularity began to wane by mid-century as lagers and bitters came to dominate. There’s been something of a Mild revival in England, but as this is a beer that's at its best when it's fresh, the English brews rarely make their way here. In America, Mild was mostly absent until craft brewers began to take notice of it. Unfortunately, few American brewers have an affinity for this sort of ale. This is a beer that requires restraint (at least on the brewing side). That’s never been our strong suit. Often American Milds come off as either too chewy and full or, worse yet, watery.

The English Mild at Fratellos gets it just right. The beer pours with a deep ruby hue followed by the inviting aroma of toasted malt. The mouth feel of this beer is perfect. It’s light and silky with enough body to keep it from being aqueous, yet it has none of the syrupy thickness that often plagues this style. The flavors are subdued, but there’s a wonderful complexity to the brew. There’s a hint of roasted malt at the start followed by notes of chocolate, light caramel, a little licorice and even some tobacco. The beer finishes with an easy dryness that urges you to drink more. And at 3.6% you really can drink this beer all night long. One caveat, however, is that this beer performs much better after you've let a growler of it warm and rest for a good half-hour before drinking. At Fratellos the beer is being served at the brewpub's standard temperature and carbonation levels, which mask how flavorful this ale really is.

A final note for the geeks: At our Fratellos page you can get a glimpse into Assistant Brewer Joe Walts' recipe formulation for this beer. There, too, you’ll find Head Brewer Kevin Bowen’s excellent notes on this and the other beers currently on tap at Fratellos.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I found my way here from Lew's SBP page. There are not many sources for English Mild recipes, so I was excited to see a link to google docs for the assistant brewer's notes. But I only found notes on the current brews, which do not include the English Mild.
    Any chance you archived the original doc?