For the first time the Rotherham Branch of CAMRA organised a 'Mild Trail' to coincide with the national Mild Month.
Nine Pubs in and around Rotherham were asked if they would have a Mild available on Saturday, 6th May, 2000. Each of the Pubs agreed to our proposal, which was surprising, as Rotherham does not have a tradition as an area where Mild has been popular.
The trail started from The Charter Arms, Eastwood Lane with calls being made at The Rhinoceros and The Tut'n'Shive before joining the bus. This took us to the Pubs outside the town centre The Limes Hotel (Broom), The Golden Ball (Whiston), The Waverley (Catcliffe), The George & Dragon (Wentworth), The Prince of Wales (Greasbrough) and finally The Woodman (Masbrough).
Mild is a traditional British beer often made with darker crystal malts and less hops than bitter beers. It is usually around 3% to 3.5% ABV and lower in strength than best bitters. Some brewers produce light or pale Milds, such as Timothy Taylor. On the other hand, some Milds are strong - up to 6% ABV. These include Sarah Hughes Ruby (often the first beer to sell out at a Beer Festival) and the Sheffield-brewed Bete Noire from Kelham Island at 5.5%.
Mild is often hard to find in the Rotherham area, indeed, in much of the country as a whole. Carlsberg-Tetley of Leeds brew more Mild than anyone else in Britain. They produce 11,000 barrels a year, or 11% of the U.K.'s total production. But even they find that the Mild market is shrinking, by five per cent per year.
One reason is that Mild is often mistakenly thought to be a weak, watery, down-market Beer. At Rotherham's own Oakwood Beer Festival, if a Mild is offered for sale it is very often overlooked. But, like many brewers are doing at the moment, if the word Mild is omitted from the promotional material, the sales are much improved. One example of this is Moorhouse's who since dropping the description 'mild' from Black Cat two years ago has seen sales up fourfold. So, if you see a mild on the bar, give it a try - you won't be disappointed!
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