Friday 19 May 2006

Beer O'Clock: Mike's Mild Ale

Naming your beer 'mild' in an age when the art of subtlety has withered and tastes tend towards extremes is a risky business. So is starting a microbrewery with only one beer in your portfolio.
However, with Taranaki's White Cliff's Brewery now approaching twenty years with mild ale as their flagship product, that approach has clearly worked well for them.

Mike's Mild Ale is a very good example of this old English style, with just a hint of dry antipodean flavour to add some edge. Although much darker in the glass, this mild is full of flavours that are not too far flung from the good old 'kiwi brown' and makes a great first step into the world of craft ales. Compared to the classic English milds there is less malt sweetness left in Mike's, thanks to a hungry Irish strain of yeast, and this allows the wonderfully subtle malt notes of cocoa, caramel and toasted grains to come through and tease the senses. It's quite dry and slender through the mouth, without being thin or watery, but as it warms it really begins to show off it's charm of roasted chocolate malt and the firm nutty base of crystal and pale malts. At 4% it's very sessionable (the short way of saying 'you can drink lots and still be able to hold a good conversation'), which makes it a great Autumn evening drop.

Some people promote Mike's Mild on the fact that it's made with rain water and 100% organic ingredients [that should read "despite the organic ingredients," Ed.], or that it's won medals in both of New Zealand's international beer awards. First and foremost for me, however, is that it's an exceptionally drinkable session ale that is far from meek.

Slainte mhath
LINKS: White Cliff's Brewery Mild Ale

TAGS: Beer_&_Elsewhere


Stu as "Stu" said...

Cheeky bugger, that editor.

I've only tasted one NZ-made organic beer that's not well above average - a pretty good strike rate.

Seeing this up here has made me thirsty. In fact, I might pick the scab off one in a few minutes... warm up for tonight's Hurricane win.


Steve said...

Thanks to Stu I sucked back a couple of these on Thursday evening. I did comment that it tasted a bit like a fizzy homebrew bock I made a couple of years back with Edmonds bread making yeast.

Maybe that was an over exaggeration - I wasn't about to refuse the next bottle. Nice pick on the Caines win too Stu, I settled in on Friday night with some Speights Pilsener - the kauri gyle stuff.

Stu as "Stu" said...

Rather thae Mikes Mild than the Speight's Gold you served me up at your place, bro!

The more I tasted of the the less I thought there was chocolate malt in there. I'm getting crystal and roast barley now...

A subtle complex drop that's also a good quaffer. The yeast profile's certainly a bit subtler than the "Pinch of Bakers Yeast Bock".

Steve said...

I'll remind you Stu that I did not buy the Speights gold, in fact I'd argue I've NEVER EVER bought Speights Gold.

The moral of the story I guess is never trust a woman to buy your beer for you.

I should have whipped round to the Miramar Bologa and got a few Old 95s.