Friday, May 1, 2015

Session #99: What's YOUR Mild?

I have an hour left in my somewhat arbitrarily self-determined work day before I go an open a bottle of something easy to drink. And I see that today is the day of the Session, the first Friday of the month, when a bunch of beer bloggers tackle the same subject. And then I think, "Oh shit! I still have a blog. Why not?"

Alistair Reece at Fuggled has an agenda with this one. He is promoting mild. That is ostensibly a style of beer. And Al is simultaneously proposing and promoting American Mild Month. Which starts today. This is one of the noblest goals I can think of, and not just because I like the style "mild." To be honest I'm not sure mild represents a style or vice versa. But I love what mild stands for: flavorful yet easy-to-drink. To me it's comfort food in a glass.

I have had a few great British milds and a couple of good American ones. Stuff I would drink again without hesitation. But that was not Al's question. He wants us to localize it.

Localizing is tricky for me.

[Stands up from desk. "HONEY! WHAT COUNTRY ARE WE IN TODAY? GERMANY? OK!" Sits back down to write.]

I grew up in Missouri. The one there that pops into my head is the Bird and Baby from Rolla's Public House -- a brewery largely devoted to session beers -- but all of that came long after I left the state.

But right now I'm in Berlin and will live here for a few more years. The local I have chosen to be mine is called Foersters, and I can walk there in 20 minutes. I happen to think it's the best bar in Berlin, but I'm also biased because a lot of the hip beer joints are across town. So far.

OK, wait. Let's abstract the mild a bit. Let's suppose my "mild" is the one that's always at my pub of choice, the first thing I order every time I walk in, it's flavorful -- delicious, even -- but unchallenging. It is comforting like a baby's bottle.

That one for me, at Foersters, is Weiherer Kellerbier. Hazy gold, sweetish, bitterish, with a creamy vanilla impression. Oh there are better kellerbiers out there. In fact there are better kellerbiers at Foersters. But it's the one that's on draught, every time I walk in, and I don't have to use my brain to order it, and sometimes I don't even have to order it -- it just arrives, like a friend who can finish your sentences.

American beer drinkers are getting more and more familiar with the word "session" -- which is great, even if it's always attached to "IPA." Time to take the concept further. Mild could do it, why not? At the very least it could be a much needed calming influence.

But if not mild, explicitly, I'd be more than content to settle for what mild represents. I usually am.


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