I think many discerning beer drinkers will agree that traditional mild ale has become one of the nation’s endangered beer styles. Some of the more cynical commentators would say it is a type from a bygone era - an outmoded beer that only chunnering old men consumed, sat round a table in the corner of the pub.

Hang on, allow me to dispel those fears in the tradition beer community. Mild, in my opinion, is having a resurgence in popularity of late. I have certainly witnessed its availability more in pubs and clubs in East Lancashire and beyond. Last orders do not appear to be being called on the style.

So, when I had an invite from Rossendale brewer, Northern Whisper, to brew a collaboration beer, it gave me a timely opportunity to raise the profile of this underrated and often misunderstood beer.

This was to be my tenth collaboration beer; my second at the Cloughfold brewery, on the outskirts of Rawtenstall.

I had requested a rather robust strength at around 4.5% for the beer. One with more body and a deeper flavour than some typical low-strength mild beverages. Also, one that was ruby in appearance; in contrast to the more common dark offerings. Thankfully, brewer, Carmelo Pillitteri, was fine with the initial suggestions.

The style is low on bitterness, thus allowing the malted grain in the brewing process to be clearly evident in the taste. Seven grains were used: pale; Vienna; chocolate; dark crystal; brown; and a very small dose of peat malt. Some oats were also added to the grain bill, to give the beer more smoothness in the mouthfeel and extra body.

Again, Carmelo complied with my request for the hops; one of my favourites, namely, Bramling Cross. A fine English hop of considerable character. It will add subtle blackcurrant and spicy flavours to the beer. This in addition to the chocolate, coffee and caramel notes from the malt bill.

The brew day on Tuesday went very smoothly. The ruby presentation we had hoped for, looked spot on. Mind you, with my dodgy eyesight, I was very much reliant on Carmelo’s verdict to confirm this.

I have named the beer, Fine Fettle. Many of the Northern Whisper beers are named in relation to Lancashire dialect. It also seemed rather appropriate and deserving, in helping to maintain the ale’s image, among a plethora of stylistic beers presently available to us.

We are aiming for caramel sweetness, chocolate, coffee and subtle berry fruitiness in both the aroma and flavour. Also a hint of spice. More coffee and chocolate hopefully, in a bittersweet and dry finish. A tight, creamy, beige head is also anticipated.

We have brewed 3,000 pints of Fine Fettle. Our last collaboration beer at the brewery, Firsty Fecker, proved immensely popular. A similar amount was virtually all pre-ordered a few days after it was brewed. Hoping, this ruby mild will prove just as popular. Thus maintaining the valued presence of this refreshing and flavoursome beer.

Fine Fettle will be making its debut at Northern Whisper’s destinations in Rawtenstall and Colne in about seven day’s time. Long live this iconic type of ale.