For the first time in 20 years, Brakspear Mild is available to drink again. Henley brewer and pub operator Brakspear is brewing Brakspear Mild at its Bell Street Brewery to the original recipe for the beer, which was last brewed in 1996 at the New Street Brakspear brewery in the town.
Brakspear Mild, a 3% ABV beer, is available exclusively to Brakspear pubs until the end of March, and joins a growing stable of beers recreated at the Henley microbrewery by head brewer Malcolm Mayo. Brakspear Old Ale, reintroduced in winter 2014, was brought back last year, while Brakspear Special, the first beer out of the Bell Street Brewery in 2013, is now brewed there year round in response to local demand.
Claire and Mick Sugg, licensees at the Hare & Hounds at Sonning Common, approached Brakspear in December to ask if Brakspear Mild could make a comeback using the Bell Street Brewery.
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “We thought it sounded like a good idea. We spoke to other Brakspear pubs who sell the Bell Street beer and they agreed, so it was all systems go.
“We opened the Bell Street Brewery in order to bring brewing back to Henley, and it has been a delight to restore some of the most popular Brakspear beers and allow drinkers locally to enjoy them again. Both Brakspear Special and Old Ale have been hugely popular and we’re expecting Mild to be a similar success.”
Malcolm Mayo, Brakspear head brewer, added, “Recreating beers from the original recipes has been an interesting challenge and we’re pleased with the results. The beers have found favour both with drinkers who remember them from days gone by, and with younger consumers discovering them for the first time.”
A dark brown ale with a reddish tinge, Brakspear Mild has a chocolate taste with a hint of caramel and a delicate bitterness. It is brewed with Crystal, Amber and Chocolate malts and Minstrel hops.
Alex Koniotes, licensee of the Perch & Pike in South Stoke, attended a pre-launch tasting of Mild with a handful of his regulars. He said, “We were first in the queue to taste Mild, and it brought back memories for a few of us. We’ve never had a Mild in the pub before, but the Brakspear name has real appeal round here and our customers have enjoyed Special and Old Ale. The Mild is a good beer and I think it’ll taste even better once it’s gone through final conditioning in the pub cellar; we’re looking forward to having it on the bar.”
As well as the Perch & Pike, Brakspear Mild is currently available in the Three Horseshoes on Reading Road, Henley; Bull on Bell Street, Henley; Hare & Hounds at Sonning Common; Flower Pot at Aston, Rainbow, Middle Assendon and Horns at Crazies Hill, with more expected to follow.
The success of the Bell Street Brewery has secured Brakspear a place in the finals of the Publican Awards 2016, a national competition to find the best pub operators. It is shortlisted for the Brewing Pub Company of the Year title, which will be announced in March.
Caption to image: Malcolm Mayo, Brakspear head brewer, in the Bell Street Brewery, Henley