I’ve been a big fan of Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project since Dann and Martha Paquette started brewing in 2008. From their always flavorful, year-round offerings such as Jack d’Or to their festive seasonals such as Our Finest Regards, Pretty Things produces fantastic products that suit a variety of tastes.
One of their most recent releases comes as part of their line-up of historic recreations in the once Upon a Time Series. With these beers, Dann and Martha have teamed up with noted beer historian Ron Pattinson to recreate styles from old brewery notebooks and journals. These beers are created just as they were written down in the time when they were first brewed. I’ve enjoyed each of the beers in this series thus far, but I was particularly impressed with a set of English Mild Ales recreated for the latest installment in the series.
What was fascinating about these beers was that they came from the same brewery, under the same name only separated by 107 years. From the years 1838 to 1945, the beer known as Mild from this London brewery changed so drastically that under any other circumstance you would think it a different beer. Due to a variety of socioeconomic changes (not to mention a couple World Wars) the beer in question went from a light golden-colored beer of 7.4% ABV, to a dark amber-colored beer of 2.8% ABV.
I drank the 1945 Mild with lunch and the 1838 Mild with dinner. The 1945 exhibited hints of grain and slight caramel malt-like sweetness. Hops were light with just a breath of bitterness lingering into the finish. The 1838 was significantly hoppier with a hint of sweetness balancing—just a touch of alcohol warmth in the flavor with a hint of grain and herbal hoppiness playing out through the finish.
I can’t say enough about what these kinds of beers do for beer drinkers, it allows us to taste the past—it’s gustatory time-travel! So here’s to Dann, Martha and Ron, and to their travels through beer history. I look forward to seeing where Pretty Things sets the dial next.