Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Mild Magic

Friday 12 April – Sunday 19 May 2024

Friday 12 April to Sunday 19 May 2024

Records Broken Left, Right and Centre!

When this year’s Mild Magic started we had an inkling it was going to be an exceptional year when a completed card (12 areas visited) was handed in by 9pm on the first day!

The next landmark was when, in only the second week, another sole handed in cards recording a visit to every pub on Mild Magic - all 97!

At the final count, participation was up 33%, with 200 people completing one of the objectives. This accounts for a remarkable 3800 visits to pubs. How many people started but didn’t finish is unknown, so we guesstimate 4000 visits were made in total.

Remarkably there were something like 80 different milds reported, but how many went unreported is again unknown, so the actual total may be many more.

Finally, people partaking in Mild Magic was by no means limited to locals from the Greater Manchester and near regions. The accolade for the most distant participant (unless you know otherwise) goes to Bellingham. Don’t be fooled, that isn’t the town in Northumberland UK, but Bellingham in the state of WASHINGTON USA!

If you are one of the 200 people completing Mild Magic don’t forget, to pick up your clothing and beer tickets, these will be given out at Stockport Beer and Cider Festival.

This year sees the 30th Anniversary of what is now Mild Magic. We think this is the longest-running local mild promotion in CAMRA, so let’s have a look back to see how things have changed.

Mild Magic started life in April 1994 as the Stockport Mild Challenge (read about it in Opening Times page 10). Run in conjunction with the Stockport Express Advertiser, it was originally devised as a celebration of Stockport’s position as one of the remaining strongholds of traditional cask mild. No fewer than 55 pubs took part and it’s a sign of the times that 24 of those pubs have subsequently closed, and a further three no longer sell cask beer.

The Challenge ran again in April 1995 and then took a break until November 1997. There was then a further hiatus until April 1999 when it returned as the Stockport & Manchester Mild Challenge featuring 50 pubs over a wider area, including Manchester City Centre, Gorton, New Mills and Whaley Bridge. In recent year, after linking up with other branches of CAMRA and with support from Hydes, Holts and Wetherspoons the area has expanded to stretch from Altringham to Swinton, via Manchester to Stalybridge and Glossop to Chapel-en-la-frith. This year we include Macclesfield for the first time in a few years.

Bored with just covering pubs local to Stockport? — Want to go international? — Can't wait until April?
Then try this challenge from Forest & Main.

Mild is an endangered species!

Until 2015 the Manchester region could boast the enviable position of having all four local family brewers producing at least one mild. That is until Robinsons decided to terminate all production of mild. Thankfully Hydes, Joseph Holt, and J W Lees all still brew milds (two in the case of Hydes), along with many smaller local breweries. Hydes have agreed to sponsor Mild Magic for 2024 and many Joseph Holt's pubs are featured on Mild Magic.

As an added bonus this year, Hydes have delved into their old recipe books and are brewing Anvil Light Ale. This mild from the 1940s was originally only available in bottles, but will now be on cask during May and June. Thus it could be available at some participating pubs. If you don't find it on in a Mild Magic pub why not search it out elsewhere? We await with baited breath whether Holts will brew a bespoke mild especially for Mild Magic as they did last year.     STOP PRESS: Holts have announced they have created Mellow Mild.

Mild Magic Tours

Two socials based upon Mild Magic are planned. Firstly, there is an opening event on Friday evening April 12 taking in a number of 'local' pubs. We will start on Chorlton Green and head back to Heaton Mersey via West Didsbury, Didsbury Village and Parswood. Full details here

This will be followed by an afternoon saunter around a selection of pubs in Macclesfield which will take place on Friday 3 May. Meet at Stockport Rail Station at 14:50, or catch up at Macclesfield Station at 15:17 (assuming no more train strikes!) Full details HERE.


Please feel free to give us feedback on how you found taking part in Mild Magic using the email below. We would like to know about unusual milds you encounter, problems with stickers or availability of milds, enjoyable encounters, inaccurate opening hours or anything else. This will be used to update information for other participants.

What does Mild Magic entail?

This CAMRA, National award-winning event, is at heart a simple ale trail. With 97 participating pubs in the 2024 event, we don't ask you to do ALL of them!

"But what do we have to do?" I hear you saying.

The Mild Challenge can be completed on any one of four levels but with one overriding principle. When you visit a pub and consume a pint (or half) of cask-conditioned mild you request a sticker to attach to your Mild Magic card. No matter how many times you visit a pub, nor how many different milds you may consume, it is strictly one sticker only per pub.

To complete Mild Magic, you need to collect stickers from 12 different areas, eg Stockport East, Cheadle Hulme, Didsbury et cetera. Do plan your visits carefully to ensure 12 areas are visited. Achieving this entitles you to beer vouchers to be redeemed at the 2024 Stockport Beer and Cider Festival in the Stockport Masonic Guildhall on the A6 opposite Stockport College, (see below for this year's method of redeeming your vouchers). In addition to the vouchers you will also receive a Mild Magic T-shirt emblazoned with the Mild Magic logo.

Upping the achievement to complete Mild Magic Extra requires 24 different areas to be visited, i.e. twice as challenging as Mild Magic. This increases your number vouchers and the garment is elevated to a polo shirt, again emblazoned with the Mild Magic logo. This is the most popular target, achieved by around 50 people each year.

Now the stakes get higher — Mild Magic Super. This is even more challenging. While collecting stickers from a total of 48 different pubs you must also visit a minimum of 36 different areas (but there is nothing stopping you setting a personal target of 48 pubs in 48 areas!). For this you will receive a Mild Magic sweatshirt and even more vouchers to be redeemed at the 2024 Stockport Beer and Cider Festival. We hope that this will encourage you to visit pubs new to you.

The ultimate challenge is Mild Magic Ultra. To achieve this you need to collect a sticker from ALL participating pubs. For this you will receive two Mild Magic shirts, both a polo shirt and a sweatshirt, plus a fistful of vouchers to use at the 2024 Stockport Beer & Cider Festival.

No matter which of the above you undertake, here is a fun extra challenge, Mild Magic Scrabble. Each participating pub has an associated letter (see table here) randomly selected from A, C, D, G, I, L or M, which are the constituent letters of MILD MAGIC. The challenge is to collect enough stickers on one of your cards to spell out MILD MAGIC (doesn't have to be in sequence but does have to be on the ONE card). For this you will be rewarded with an additional two vouchers to be used at the 2024 Stockport Beer & Cider Festival. If you decide to participate in this extra challenge, we have helped you by spelling out MILD MAGIC on the first nine squares on your card. So when you bag a letter, stick it in the relevant square.

Everyone who participates also has the option of being entered into a draw to take up one of a limited number of invitations to tour a brewery. These are still being negotiated, so more details nearer the time. Full meet-up details will be provided along with your invitation (if successful).

What do I do when I have finished?

Post all your completed cards to this address:
    Mild Magic, 10 New Beech Road, Heaton Mersey, Stockport SK4 3DD
[also given on the card] to arrive by 25 May, 2024 (only one submission [but all cards completed] per person). Receipt of the cards will be acknowledged electronically, so do remember to include an email address (or mobile phone if no email possessed).

Collecting your rewards

Garments and mild vouchers will all be dispensed at the Stockport Beer and Cider Festival from the CAMRA Shop. Make sure to bring along the electronic device upon which you received your confirmation, though assuming this is your mobile phone it probably never leaves your side! If you are unable to attend the Festival an alternative can be negotiated by consultation with the organiser via All garments are graced by a bespoke version of the Mild Magic insignia.

Please do remember to include your size, but do bear with us as we can't control the manufacturer's interpretation of sizes, so if you are borderline, ie sometimes medium is a snug fit, it may be better to order judiciously.

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Download a card in either Microsoft Word format or Adobe pdf format.

Fancy a poster, or need extra for your pub? Download poster

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