The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. They are a tenant brewer, not owning their own brewery, but renting others' brewing equipment. This 2.8% ABV beer is part of their Once Upon a Time Beers From History series based on old recipes that have been rediscovered and recreated. This is the twin to the November 22, 1838 X Ale. They are both a mild ale originating from the same brewery, but the recipe changed over the years greatly.
According to the bottle: Mild was a hugely popular style for more than a century (1800-1900's). Here, we have released two Mild ales side-by-side; two beers from opposite ends of that period, brewed by the same brewery. If you drink both, you will drink the same brand from the same brewery, separated by 107 years. Over those years, Mild changed considerably; something these beers amply demonstrate. Though bearing the same name, X Ale, in character they could hardly be more dissimilar. By WWII, Mild was firmly established as Britain's most popular style of beer, but the years had not been kind. The war years in particular had taken their toll on Mild, reducing its alcohol content. There had been other changes too. For example, the colour. 1945 X Ale was much darker, brewed from a blend of 5 malts and dark brewing sugar. Wartime shortages also dictated the use of flaked barley. this 1945 Mild contained just a fifth of the hops of 1838 version. This is Mild as we know it today, a low-gravity, lightly-hopped, dark beer. Drink the two side-by-side to see these changes in action. -Ron Pattinson.
The beer pours a medium chestnut brown, with amber and orange. There is an inch of thick off-white foam that leaves layers of very sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is toasted and nutty, sweet, burnt caramel, light hazelnut. The taste is quite roasted malt, toasted, nutty, light hazelnut, with a pleasing light bitterness that counters the underlying sweetness. There is a nice, even carbonation, light mouthfeel, but very flavorful for its light body and alcohol. This is really good! Tomorrow I will try the 1838 version.