Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Mild of the Month

With it being June 1st, American Mild Month is now over for another year. I really wish I'd had more time to dedicate to the project, but life and work got in the way (on the up side, it is good to be busy, and my brain is still readjusting to impending fatherhood). I got to enjoy some nice mild ales during the month, Maelstrom from Three Notch'd Brewing springs to mind immediately.

The mild though that I enjoyed most throughout the month was one that is sadly not available in this part of Virginia, Oliver Brewing Company's Dark Horse. Oliver Brewing Company, headed up by fellow Brit Stephen Jones, were early supporters of American Mild Month and in many ways I think of Dark Horse as the unofficial flagship beer of the project. Dark Horse is as classic an English Dark Mild as you will find in the US, a straight down the line 3.8% ABV dark mild.

My first experience with Dark Horse, and Oliver Brewing in general was back in 2012 when my best mate and I went to Baltimore for a weekend on the lash. Nursing a well earned hangover we wandered into Pratt Street Alehouse and took our hair of the dog in the form of Dark Horse, about 6 pints if memory serves, so when Stephen offered to send some cans of the beer my way, there was no chance I would look said dark gift horse in the mouth.


As you can see in the picture, Dark Horse is one of the expected colours for an English Dark Mild, kind of a dark brown, but with crimson edges, and a nice looking light tan head that seems to just float there for the duration of the drinking. Just for reference, here's a picture of it in my dimpled mug as well as the nonic above (yes I have a thing for ye olde pint glasses).


The aroma was mostly unsweetened cocoa powder with a slight undercurrent of a grassy tobacco thing that I always associate with Fuggles hops. I realise this will likely sound insane to some, but the aroma was distinctly 'pub-like', and by that I mean classic British boozer 'pub-like' rather than modern brick and chrome craft beer bar, you could almost say it smells curmudgeonly. As for the flavour, again the cocoa character is present, but with a slight hazelnut spread thing going on as well, think schmeer of Nutella on fresh toast and you're pretty much in the right neck of the woods. There is just enough hop bite to cut through the malt, but not enough to dominate the beer, some people use 'balance' to damn with faint praise, I use it because I love balanced beers that I can drink all night, Dark Horse has balance. Even though Dark Horse is 'only' 3.8% you'd never tell as it isn't watery in the slightest.


Thankfully Dark Horse is a year round part of the Oliver Brewing Company lineup, and hopefully it will eventually find it's way to central VA on a regular basis, along with the rest of their beers, of which I have fond memories from 2012. Still, it was the ideal beer with which to see in and see out American Mild Month 2017, and here's hoping for more time to make the 2018 much bigger and better.


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