Another form of classifying beer has its roots in Scotland where beers are categorised as ‘Mild’, ‘Light’, ‘Heavy’ and ‘Strong’ ales:
- Mild Ale are dark in colour, with relatively few hops, and was traditionally consumed by heavy industrial workers, such as miners. Mild beer is still enjoyed in industrial regions, despite the closure of many industries.
- Light Ale, in Scotland, is dark in colour, bottled and of a low to medium strength. In England, the term purely denotes a beer that is bottled.
- Heavy beers are more popular in the North of England and Scotland, and are medium in strength and pale in colour. Although the taste is ‘full’, it is not ‘heavy’ as such, being full of subtle flavours and aromas.
- Strong Ale, thankfully, is exactly what it says, a dark and very strong beer, somewhere in strength between a porter and a barley wine, so between 6% and 9-10% volume.
Admittedly, the best way of determining the strength of a beer is to look at the label! However, the classifications pointed to above outline the changes that have occurred in the beer market in recent years. Notably, the classifications, ‘Mild’, Light’, Heavy’ and ‘Strong’ Ales were also referred to, respectively, as 60 shilling, 70 shilling, 80 shilling and 90 shilling beers - their price reflecting their strength. More notably, there are pockets of the country where the above distinctions (and their respective ‘monetary’ names) would still be recognised, although you’d have to pay a little more these days for your pint.