Video! Boxcar, Double Dark Mild

Double Dark Mild is a stronger, richer iteration of the Dark Mild that Boxcar brews so well. It’s thick and satisfying, packed full of raisin and plum fruit notes. DDM is suitable for vegans and contains gluten.

What’s the best style of beer? A question that has puzzled beer scholars for centuries, the answer depends entirely on the sort of person you are. Do you wear socks with your sandals? Then you probably salivate at the first whiff of a cask-conditioned best bitter. Do you frequent dive bars in Shoreditch wearing thick-rimmed spectacles and a black turtleneck? Then you’ll prefer the punchy tartness of a fruited gose.

What’s the most underrated style of beer? That’s a question with a much clearer consensus. There, the card-carrying CAMRA members and the painfully cool hipsters are in agreement: there’s just not enough mild ale available any more.

Enter Boxcar. Located just a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station, Boxcar brews fantastic beers of all styles but has made a particularly big splash with its Dark Mild ale. It’s been such a success, in fact, that they’re doubling down. This is Boxcar’s Double Dark Mild.

We’re faced with an unusual can for Boxcar. Because this is a limited run, they’ve chosen a purple and gold theme with the colour stretching all the way around the can. It looks a little out of place next to their other beers, but if the intention is for this one to stand out as a special it’s doing its job. Aside from that context, it looks luxurious, rich, and tempting: all adjectives I hope will apply to the beer within.

This is certainly a dark beer. It’s black, thick, and opaque. With other dark milds you might pick up from, say, Robinsons or Timmy Taylors, their dark mild is dark but not black. It’s still transparent. That’s absolutely not the case here. It’s almost like we’re looking at a stout.

The aroma is subtle. I’m getting raisin, plummy, dark fruit aromas.

There’s much more going on when this beer hits the tongue. It’s fruity. Those plum and raisin notes we picked up on the nose are far more apparent here. The mouthfeel is thick and luxurious without being chewy. This is seriously smooth, easy drinking.

It’s the raisin fruity sweetness that hangs around most on the finish. It’s reminding me of Christmas cake.

This is a delicious beer. It’s thick and satisfying, fruity and sweet without overpowering the senses. It would be a good beer for fans of Badger’s Cranbourne Poacher (or Poacher’s Choice, as it used to be known), which shares those plummy, fruity notes. It would also be a good fit for someone trying to expand their experience of dark beers beyond Guinness, which has a similar thick, satisfying mouthfeel.

Is this a mild, though? Traditionally, mild ale is meant for easy drinking, with characteristically “mild”, delicate flavour. This beer has an ABV of 6.3%. It might go down easily, but it’s certainly not the kind of beer you can throw back all night. It gets some leeway for being a double dark mild, perhaps, but arguably it’s crossed the line between mild and stout at this stage.

Regardless of where this beer sits on the style spectrum, it’s a delight to drink. You can pick up cans of this and Boxcar’s other beers on their website or swing by their taproom the next time you’re in Bethnal Green. And I absolutely recommend that you do.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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