Just what is it about Bass that makes it so popular? There is even an Honourable Order of Bass Drinkers (HOBD) who celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2017…er celebrating drinking Bass and not many drinks have an (un)official fan club!
Bass, in my case, was the first beer that converted me from lager. Way back in 1993, the PFA used to run a pub management course for footballers through the BII that was run from Henley College in Coventry.
My drinking style was definitely different back then as Caffreys and Brew XI were deemed a radical shift for me away from Castlemaine XXXX and Carling. However, the tutor on my pub management course was obviously an aficionado and introduced us to the delights of Draught Bass at a boozer (still going strong) called The Town Wall Tavern at the back of the Belgrade Theatre.
It was definitely my epiphany regards beer as it was absolute nectar and I have been a convert ever since.
Okay, it’s not quite at its 1877 vintage when it was the largest brewer in the world or its 60’s version when Bass Charrington was the brewer. Marston’s now brews Bass, ironic really as it used to compete against Pedigree, and for me, it is still a ‘go to’ drink at the bar.
I’ve read many bloggers and esteemed beer gurus argue that it is nowhere near as good as its 1970’s vintage (and arguably heyday) and the gaffer or my local boozer, who used to brew for Bass would certainly fall into that category.
Nevertheless, I’m a relative novice in terms of Draught Bass and it is a cracking drink when kept well with it’s bittersweet taste and it just looks like a Rolls Royce of the beer world.
I have been amazed at quite how many boozers still stock Bass – and keep it well. Those backstreet pubs that are tucked away on housing estates and off the beaten track are arguably the least likely place to locate a cracking pint of Bass.
However, 104 – The Gate LE67 2HG in Hugglescote was one such pub as I entered this village’s only hostelry. It was by no means packed and there appeared to be a Pub To Let sign on the outside but the beer was good and the atmosphere aided by two big screens.
It also had fruit machines, juke box and all the usual trappings of a local pub. The more I see of backstreet pubs the more I think they benefit from Sky Sports as it gives the people a reason to visit a pub and they might not necessarily be able to afford one of Rupert Murdoch’s monthly packages.
Anyway, Tony Martial was banging in Manchester United’s third goal at Watford, which was met with much joy by two punters and a groan of “Oh for f**** sake” from one of the barfly’s along with a “I need to cash out now” quote from the other end of the bar!
Modern day pub life really whilst a bloke sat quietly soaking it all up with his two dogs and a steady stream of punters headed out for a fag.
The Draught Bass was excellent and at £3.30 very reasonable whilst the pub itself was clean and accommodating with lots of activities going on such as the obligatory weekend karaoke and live entertainment. It was slightly different to the norm in the room at the back was a dedicated pool room and there was also a quiet snug area without a screen but this is definitely what the good folk of Hugglescote, in Leicestershire, want.
If Roland from Henley College was here he would have enjoyed the nectar that is Draught Bass although, he also gave me some wise advice back in the day.
When discussing beer and wine he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “if you like it drink it, don’t be led by others as it is all snobbery. I like Bass but if someone else wants to drink lager then good for them. It’s all about choice.”
Indeed it is but I choose Bass! And, thankfully for me, cracking little boozers like The Gate keep stocking it and providing me with live football to spend an enjoyable hour on a Tuesday evening.