Bass Ale. Before The Brew Club, this was my ‘go-to’ beer. Anytime I wanted a solid beer with no surprises, Bass Ale was the deal for me. Fast forward a year, and I find myself promoting something we call ‘English Ale Month‘! As a result, we’re stuffing the month of April with a bunch of English beer reviews – many of which I’ve never even heard of not too long ago!
The Bass & Co Brewery was established by William Bass in 1777, and over the centuries their operation grew through acquisitions of other British breweries until the year 2000 when when their own conglomeration was gobbled up by InBev. So today, the same people who make Bass are the same people who make Bud, Leffe, Eiken Artois, Hoegaarden, Boddingtons and about a thousand other brands. Amazing.
So, on to my old standard beer then. Bass Ale is considered an English Pale Ale, and checks in at 5% ABV. Its a perfectly clear light coppery color, and it created a pillowy looking head in my glass. This took some time to go down which was fine because this particular bottle was living in the coldest region of my fridge! I wanted it to warm up a little bit before I had it to review because I recently learned the hard way that drinking ales too cold can really take away from the beer’s flavor and complexity. As a result, I’ll need to retry the Fullers ESB at some point – not a horrible task actually.
Back to the Bass Ale. The smell is on the sweet side, and at the same time you can get a sense of the hops and malts and of course there’s that bread kind of aroma that seems to be common in this style. Tasting the Bass Ale – it starts with a bit of a metallic, hoppy bite, then you can taste the malt. The beer seems to turn from tangy and oddly metallic, to more mellow sweetness. There’s a nice bitterness to the finish, and the aftertaste is mild and agreeable.
To sum it up, before I knew anything about beer, Bass was my main beer. As it turns out, I wasn’t doing too bad! Having sampled many different beers over the last year, Bass is still, I think, a very solid choice considering its a macro-brewed product.
Often, Bass is the best choice at many American restaurants, and you could certainly do much worse than have a Bass Ale. While Bass isn’t necessarily my ‘go to’ beer anymore, its still a very drinkable and very enjoyable beer that I’ll have again I am sure. To me, its one beer that lives up to expectations while not being pretentious or trying too hard to be something its not. I guess a couple hundred years of brewing does that!
I would even consider offering a Bass Ale to someone who only drinks American Macro Lagers because it isn’t too extreme, but its good enough to get people through the door to try other styles of beer. AKA, a good ‘gateway beer’.