The Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA is an outstanding little craft brewery established in 1994, Yards specializes in British ales, and they do an outstanding job of it. One of my favorite beer styles by Yards is a beer they simply call Brawler.
Brawler is a mild by style. We really don't see a whole lot of mild ale being brewed in the U.S. and both British and domestic examples of this style can be hard to find. I applaud the fact that Yards is brewing this beer style. What exactly is mild? It is a British beer style that is malt accented, ruby red to brown in color, with mild hop bitterness. Most mild ales are only 3% to 3.5% abv making them the type of beer you could drink lots of. Brawler is 4.2% abv which is high on the mild scale but still a beer with relatively low alcohol. This beer style was popular with British miners and factort workers, who toiled away with a day of hard labor to be rewarded with pint after pint of mild they could pound with impunity. Mild ales lost favor in the 1960's and all but disappeared. I happy to mild is alive and well both British and examples like Brawler can be found in markets in the U.S.
Brawler pours to a beautiful, bright, ruby red color, with a white head that slowly fades, and a moderate to soft carbonation. The nose on this beer is outstanding, with lots of good light toasty and nutty malt aromas. The plate is soft, with good nutty, toffeeish, and toasty malt flavors. A touch of estery fruit is faint in the back ground, but malt is the star here. Brawler finishes with more good nutty, toasty malt flavor up front, then ends with a mild, flowery hop bitterness to balance the malt flavors in this beer.
Mild in hop bitterness, and mild in alcohol but not mild on flavor. This is a great example of a classic British beer style. Brawler is a true "session" beer, one you will have no trouble drinking a few pints or more of. I love this style and I love this beer. A great drinking beer, a food friendly as one. Despite its name odds are you won't get stupid and get in a brawl after a few of these. For more information visit the brewery at: http://www.yardsbrewing.com/