Oakwood Mild English Ale
1 draught pint, $3.75, 3.9% ABV
Purchased at Cambridge House Brew Pub, Granby
I entered, I chose, I drank… I tasted, I swallowed… I took the terrible picture here… And I was immediately intrigued, surprised and slightly confused. What in the world was I drinking? How was this possible? The Oakwood Mild is an excellent, dark and flavorful ale which was barely above a Shandy ale in alcohol content.
But really good weird. I don’t really know what I expected, but let’s be honest here – when you see a beer is barely a beer at less than 4% alcohol, you have a preconception before you take your first sip. You just do.
And honestly, my first few sips were pretty much what I expected: thin and light ale that happened to be a little darker than it tasted.
Then a funny thing happened. I waited a bit and did some of my crossword and let the beer warm up a bit. As that happened, the coffee and chocolate notes came to the fore. The kind of flavor one expects from rich stouts or porters, not near-shandy ales. I was very impressed.
Brewing this type of beer is probably very difficult, and no one seems to do it. They really should try; almost as a gateway beer to get light beer drinkers to explore the darker and more mysterious world of good beer.
CBH says (paraphrased from their chalkboard):
A malty and nutty English brown ale with subtle hints of chocolate and coffee. This was a collaboration with homebrewer Dana Bourque who won a contest.
Hm. Interesting. First, I’ve read that CBH made Oakwood Mild in years past, but this version that I had was the first time Borque joined the brewing process. That doesn’t make sense to me, and here’s why: Dana Bourque is no schlumpy home brewing mope. In fact, he’s at the helm of one of Connecticut’s growing list of microbreweries – Firefly Brewing in Bristol. (Not yet operational at the time of this writing, in September 2012.)
I have absolutely no idea, and it’s not my style to actually find out the real answer here, but I’m guessing Bourque won the homebrewing contest with this unique beer before starting Firefly, let’s say last year, and his own brewery is just something that this “win” propelled him to do. Who knows, but I’m looking forward to Firefly.
Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: A