That means that all my beers are "Milds"
I have heard a couple of "'Imperial Milds" lately and laugh at the oxymoron that it is.
Other than the fact that the term "Imperial" itself has become something of a cliche these days, the fact is that historically the term "mild" had nothing whatsoever to do with the strength of the brew (and according to more than one researcher, some of the original 'milds' didn't even have reduced hop rates).
"Mild" meant only that the beer wasn't tart from extended age.
Ha! For the most part and with only a couple exceptions, mine too apparently.
Basically, and historically speaking, your probably not far wrong about that. Just serves to further illustrate that the recent phenomenon of pigeonholing beers into SO many new so called "styles" has really become something of a joke.
Seems these days, if one extra hop cone gets added to an existing style everyone wants to make it a new "style".
In any case, I still say that "Imperial" and "Extreme" have become nothing more than tired marketing gimmickry. I know that I'm not alone in that feeling, too.
In the end, it's BEER.
Small breweries need all the tools they can use to compete against the monsters churning out yellow beer. "tired marketing gimmickry"? How about "Triple Hopped" or "Cold Filtered"? Or Bud Lime or Bud Wheat? Those are gimmicks, much mroe powerful gimmicks than "Imperial" sized brews. I agree, however, that sometimes the "Imperial" nomenclature is taken too far. But, if it helps the small, struggling brtewer to sell more beer ... well then, more power to 'em.
Also, I pride myself in very often meshing or skewing styles. however, I think that learning styles makes one a much, much better brewer as opposed to those who do not. I also have an art degree. Would we not agree that there are "styles" in art? In the end, it is just art
. But the educated know what art "styles" are and how those "styles" evolved. You could make the same argument for music. Is all music "just music"? Or is Jazz a style? Is "classical" the same as "hip hop"? Of course not. Art has differences that define style. And, IMO, beer is art.