Well, it's been a trying week (like all weeks) and so I wanted to review something from my youth that wasn't Thwaites (I'm sure I'll come back to them at some point). As it happens there was some beer in the local supermarket that instantly brought back memories of my father drinking and the stuff you saw on TV. I'm reasonably certain that they were once the brewery used in the Rover's Return in Coronation Street but I could be lying.
Tonight it is time to have at Bass Trademark No. 1 premium pale ale. I'm still on that vaguely pale ale kick and I keep forgetting how much I like them. Mind you, let's not forget a love of the dark stuff too.
It hisses nicely when opened and pours nicely from the bottle, making a deep amber ale with an energetic head that is more frothy than creamy. Good fresh hoppy nose to it with a strong hint of alcohol in amongst the blooms of lemon, lime and melon. It is tangy rather than sharp, putting me in mind of pineapple cubes come to think of it. It's also 4.4% ABV and the first taste is like an old-fashioned ginger ale as it hits the tongue. There the similarity ends because there's no fiery beast clawing at you as it goes down, instead we have a wave of cream with a twist of bitterness so that it feels like there ought to be a twist of fruit in there. No real malty base to speak of, the hops work with the carbonation like a Base Jumper off a long bridge or a couple of parkour runners doing their thang to sufficiently electronic dance music.
As I continue to drink it this feeling that the hops are diving off something into a long fall is reinforced and the whole thing feels like a whimsical romp through a built up area whilst defying gravity or something. It has a look of something from a bygone age and feels reassuring working class, northern and solid. It'll probably turn out to be brewed down South now. Even so, it speaks to me of ploughmen, oxen, agricultural labour and canals. It is a Turner or Constable painting hanging in the gallery amidst some brilliant modern art. At once out of place but also reassuring and stable, a haven when caught in the whirls of sound, colour and sculptural flicks that make up a modern gallery experience. Nothing too clever, nothing too thought provoking but dependable and unchanging like black jacks or sherbet lemons or mint imperials - a link to one's past through image and smell. A satisfying pale ale with a good colour.
Enjoy this singly on an evening with a proper manly meal. A hunk of rustic bread, some roughly chopped salady things and slices of dry cured meats and some branston pickle on the side. Make sure you have your work suit on and that it is threadbare on the elbows. Leave your chin unshaven, you too ladies, and talk little with that secure satisfaction that today, today you have helped maintain and create empire.