Just back from a couple of days visiting my sister who has just moved to Falmouth (more on that later). One of the many highlights were 2 marvellous pints of flat Bass, my first for many months.  I have an unhealthy affection for Bass, based only on some wonderful pints at odd places and times, and a desperate wish to find it as good again.

The West Country seems to have some remaining affection for Bass, with only Southern Derbyshire and it’s home county of Staffordshire being more reliable places to find it, though usually alongside Pedigree there.  I’ve noticed several different presentations of Bass over the years, each with their merits:-

TIGHT HEAD – Seen in most of the Marston’s estate, a recent good example being the Spread Eagle in Rolleston-on-Dove, actually a good Vintage Inn.

FLAT FROM THE PUMP– often the way in Cornish pubs such as Punch’s Black Swan in Gweek, serving a superb Bass alongside the standard Sharp’s beers.  I was also pleased to see Bass served flat from the tap in the craft-led MONO in Falmouth.

FROM THE BARREL OR JUG – Quite a few famed pubs serve on gravity, including Plymouth’s Dolphin, Buton’s Coopers Tavern,  and Derby’s Station Inn, but it’s the few serving from the jug that are unmissable.  Many will have heard of the time-warp Dyffryn Arms in Pontfaen, but I reckon the best Bass I’ve had came from the jug at the Dead Poets in Holbrook, a wonderful (if fiery) pub in the Amber Valley.

BANKERS FROM THE FRIDGE – Uniquely (I think), the Sun in Stockton pours a pint of what looks like froth, sticks it in the fridge, and then tops it up when the froth settles. Looks like the Boddies advert, sounds like sacrilege, but a fantastic pint albeit totally different from the gravity Bass. Worth a trip to Stockton just for the Bass and the chicken Parmo (*)


I can understand Bass’s fall from favour, as quality can be highly variable; it’s been average in the Unicorn, the only central Manchester pub I know to stock it, but worth seeking out a really good pub to taste at it’s best.

(*) edited as insistence of a smog-monster.  Chicken Parmesan is a legal device for consuming your entire week’s calories in 10 minutes after a session on Teeside.

11 thoughts on “FLAT BASS

  1. Still seems to be a fair amount of Bass around in West Wales, including one pub proudly promoting it as a guest beer. I assume that historically it has been very popular in the free trade in these areas.

    Apparently there’s still a lingering resentment against Robinsons on Anglesey for buying up a number of free houses in the 50s that used to sell Bass.


    1. Good to hear about West Wales; I’d assumed Worthington (or Brains version of) was the only survivor. Interesting Anglesey point – used to be Bass in smarter pubs in Menai Bridge in past but not been for a while.


  2. Bass is – to my surprise – everywhere! I have been drinking it since I was 16 many years ago, after first supping a bit of my father’s in a pub in Cornwall. Now merely the phrase “draught Bass” makes my tase buds tingle as I imagine that first sup from a pint of golden nectar. Apart from Burton (where they brew the cask version of it) it is best found (and by far best kept!) in and around Derby and its surrounding towns and villages which is where I call home. Several pubs still serve it from a jug kept on the bar with a tea towel over the top, such as the Harrington Arms in Thulston. I can bore you with a list of local pubs serving it, but even since 2018 I have seen it served in places as far away as Whitby, Stirling (Scotland) and London. The pints all tasted ‘off’ but still a pleasure to see, unlike the reinvention of Shipston’s…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree with all that, Chris. Would nominate Dead Poets in Holbrook for flat Bass, but some who read this blog will champion Burton, Uttoxeter and Ockbrook.

      Spot on re:Shipstons. Had a well kept but dull pint in Syston last week.

      Intrigued where you found Bass in Stirling!


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