“ Brand: Gales / Type: Ale „
To celebrate Mild Day on 10th May (and Mild Month in general) we all trooped off on a couple of buses on a Chesterfield Branch (of CAMRA) to sample some Mild Ales in the area. I love Mild as a style of beer (I won't repeat all the info about the style because this can easily be found on the internet or by reading my other reviews of Milds) and have sampled one or two over the years. I would like to share another of my articles that appear in our local Innspire magazine (this can be seen in Derbyshire pubs and at http://www.innspire.org.uk/). This one goes against pretty much all of what is generally accepted as a Mild (see reviews of Batemans Mild, Cains Dark Mild etc) ~ it has a higher alcohol content, has a lot more going on in the taste department and has a good strong aroma too. This particular Mild is called Festival Mild and is brewed by George Gale & Company, which is based in Horndean in Hampshire. George Gale & Co Ltd dates back to 1847; when Richard Gale purchased a brewery and an adjoining pub (called The Ship Inn). The business was expanded by Richard's son George and, following a major fire in 1869, the brewery was rebuilt. The Bowyer family bought a major share in the brewery in 1896 and they have stayed at the helm ever since. If you want to know more about the brewery's history then you can either visit the web-site (http://www.gales.co.uk/) or there is a book available too (details also available via the web-site). Gales Brewery supply 111 tied houses (all of which serve Cask Ales) and also provide beer to around 650 free trade outlets. Some of their beers you may come across include Frolic Bitter (4.4% ABV ~ a tasty beer served around Easter), HSB (4.8% ABV ~ a full-bodied bitter) and Winter Brew (4.2% ABV ~ a winter beer in the style of an Old Ale). Festival Mild was first created by Gales back in 1990 to support CAMRA's campaign to restore Mild as a style of beer. It was called Festival because
it made its first appearance at a Beer Festival, but it was so popular that it became a regular fixture. It has won many awards at Beer Festivals around the country so I was really looking forward to trying it. It's available as a Cask Beer and also in bottles; it was advertised at Tesco, but I have yet to have the pleasure! Festival Mild weighs in at 4.8% ABV and is brewed using Maris Otter pale ale malt, black malt and crystal malt, along with a blend of Goldings, Challenger and Fuggles hops. At 4.8% it is one of the stronger Milds on the market and challenges the assumption that all Milds are low in alcohol content and taste. Looks wise, Festival Mild is almost black with a faint hint of copper and a thin but pretty long lasting head. The aroma was stronger than most Milds ~ roasted malt, fruit and a light spiciness mix with a faint hoppiness. The texture is smooth and rich, but quite thin bodied. The flavour of Festival Mild is predominantly fruity. The initial taste that I noticed was blackcurrants and raisins, but this was nicely balanced out by hints of chocolate, caramel and a soft taste of roasted malt. I could also taste raspberries in there along with what I can only describe as liquorice. There is a faint tang of bitterness in the finish, but the aftertaste leaves you with a pleasant sweetness. It is pretty refreshing and all the tastes seem to linger nicely...at least long enough for me to send someone to the bar for a refill! We first encountered Festival Mild at The Hay at Shirland (Derbyshire)on Mild Day this year. It cost us around £1.90 a pint and we really enjoyed it. I've since seen it down at The Portland Hotel in Chesterfield (where it was available as a "Try Before you Buy" Guest Beer) and plenty of people seemed to be drinking it. If you see Festival Mild at a pub near you I would recommend you give it a try because it was even enjoyed by the drinkers who normally didn't go for a Mild. <
br> I'm not doing myself any favours here because they'll be less left for me if I tell everyone to have some! Hands off...it's mine! Brewery Details; The Hampshire Brewery Horndean Hampshire PO8 0DA (023)92571212 http://www.gales.co.uk/ ***Not got a clue why I can't get capital letters at the beginning of this review tried all sorts and it's not playing ball****
Last night I had the superb good fortune of being in a Gales pub in Havant (well at least once we'd escaped the mass production pub - Wetherspoons). In the name of research I decided to try a couple of new beers - this and Butser. I would have tried Gales Best as well but they were out last night. After changing pub from Wetherspoons I decided that it was about time I got acquainted with some different beers in the Gales range, so I ordered a pint of Festival. For my 2.20 I got a dark, frothy pint back - not as dark as the Murphy's I'd been drinking previously of course. Then I took my first mouthful and thought this is different - really in Guildford the only beer thats great is Gales HSB. After getting over 'their definitely not watering this down', I started to appreciate the full flavour assualt on my tongue. Your best bet for a description of the flavour is to go up to the Gales Festival category index, but if you like a beer that has masses of flavour - nothing at all watery about this - and don't want anything heavy, this definitely should be on your hitlist. This being quite on the light side and full or flavour is a sensation that I'm not used to - I usually go with Larger, Stout and the occasional guest ale. Whilst this is a great pint it does have a fair whack when it comes to alcohol at 4.8% - the same as HSB incidently - so I probably wouldn't really go through many of them, but I would have probably had a couple more if I hadn't decided I need to try Butser.
Palate: Pronounced fruity flavours of blackcurrant, raisins and raspberry with a lingering citric character in the finish Aroma: Hoppy with blackcurrant character. ABV 4.8%.