This beer is part of Pretty Things once upon a time series, which is a series of historical recipes surfaced by Ron Pattinson, and reproduced as a single reissue by pretty things. The though behind the x-ale series is to highlight the changes in a particular brand over the course of 100+ years. The 1945 variant of X Ale is a a traditional British mild recipe. Very similar to what is brewed today as a British mild, dark, low hop, low abv, and generally quaffable. Where as it’s sister release,X Ale, 22nd November 1838 is a completely different style, a hoppy Golden, of much higher abv. The story and juxtaposition of the two recipes are quite intriguing.
In this circumstance, I’d normally try them both, and tell you which I liked better, but the night called for something a little lower abv, and didn’t allow for consuming two 22oz bottles, even if one was only 2.8 abv. The British mild is not a new style by any means, it’s just not something I’ve tried so I can’t compare it to any known examples. Recently I’ve been keeping my eye out for lower abv craft beers, for nights such as these.
The beer pours clear, with a moderate head, the bubbles are quite large, but the head sticks around. The beer has a little bit of a sour smell, along with a little caramel malt, no hop aroma. The taste is similar, it’s light, there is a bit of grain bitterness from the dark malts used to color the beer, and an overall graininess. The hops are just there for slight bitterness, and not flavor or aroma. What is shocking is how full this beer feels. For such a low abv, it really doesn’t feel light or watery, but is very easy to drink. It has to be from the lower carbonation, and tanins from the darker malts.
It’s interesting to think of these beers as a study of historical global forces, that drove this type of style to be produced, wars time shortages and rationing, are among them I’m sure.
Vital Stats: 22oz bottle served at 40F in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. 2.8% ABV
Taste: B. Not my cup of tea, but it had no noticeable defects, and before I knew it my glass was empty.
Drinkability: B+. The mild ale is brewed to be consumed in quantity. It’s light, not filling, not over bearing, really something you could have quite a few pints of and have no worries about sea legs.
Packaging: B+. The story behind the two X Ale beers is really interesting, and they go into great detail about it on the bottle. Pretty things branding is so whimsical and eye catching, while the once upon a time series doesn’t’ have their usual drawings, it’s still eye catching.