To attract a new generation of beer drinkers and 'to encourage people to view the whole subject of beer afresh', the Whitbread brewery yesterday launched a new beer one of whose main ingredients is chocolate.
'Fuggles Chocolate Mild' is the fourth in the company's series of New Classic Ales. The beer derives its name from the Worcestershire Fuggles variety of hops used in the brew.
A spokesman for the company said it was hoped that it would do the same for beer as the New World wines have done for the popularity of wine. Half a million pints of the mild beer will be brewed over the next six weeks, for distribution by hand-pump in pubs across England and Wales. It is not being distributed in Scotland.
Traditionally, mild was a low-alcohol dark beer, drunk mainly in the Midlands and the North. The base for the new brew is standard malted barley, torrefied (roasted) wheat and a small proportion of 'chocolate malt' - barley dried in a kiln to a dark roasted colour. To augment the beer's roasted malt character, chocolate is added to every barrel before despatch from the Flowers Brewery in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
The new chocolate mild has a much higher alcohol content of 4.6 per cent compared with the 2.8 to 3.3 per cent of traditional milds.