This post yesterday got me thinking about the state of mild in Manchester.
According to CAMRA, the North West is one of the last strongholds of mild. Given it's not disappeared as a regular beer here as it has in most of the country that's sort of true. But what's really happening?
In the mid- to late 1980's, breweries in the Manchester area producing a mild included Boddingtons, Whitbread subsidiary Chesters in Salford, Holt's, Hydes, Lees in Middleton, Robinsons in Stockport and Wilsons in Newton Heath. Twenty five years later, Boddingtons, Chesters and Wilsons breweries are no more. Holt's Hydes, Lees and Robinsons all still brew a mild (some of them light and dark ones) but not all their pubs sell them and others only in keg rather than cask form.
It's also debateable whether some of their milds are really separate beers with their own grists. Robinsons Hatters light mild is I suspect its Unicorn bitter with a hefty amount of added caramel (caramel is the dominant taste I remember from Wilsons mild too) and Holt's Mild is just as hoppy as their Bitter (which is less hoppy than it used to be anyway), only darker - presumably achieved with brewing sugars rather than a darker malt.
As mild drinkers in Manchester tend to be of the older generation, and mostly don't seem too bothered whether it's a cask or keg beer, I suspect I may just witness the disappearance of cask mild as a regular draught beer in the pub within my lifetime.