Is Bass Ale or bitter?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Bass Ale is often classified as a bitter, although it is more accurately characterized as a pale ale. Bitter is a term commonly used in the United Kingdom to describe a type of beer that has a strong hoppy flavor and a higher level of bitterness compared to other beer styles. While Bass Ale does have a noticeable hop presence and a degree of bitterness, it also exhibits other characteristics that make it distinct from a traditional bitter.

One of the defining features of Bass Ale is its full-flavored profile. The beer is brewed using selected malts, which contribute to its rich and robust taste. These malts undergo a process of roasting, giving the ale a slight burnt roast aroma. This adds depth and complexity to its flavor, making it more than just a typical bitter.

Another important aspect of Bass Ale is the use of aromatic hops. These hops provide a floral and herbal aroma, enhancing the overall sensory experience of the beer. However, it’s worth noting that the hop character in Bass Ale is not as pronounced as in some other bitter styles. The focus here is on balance, with the malts and hops working together harmoniously to create a well-rounded flavor profile.

The water used in brewing Bass Ale also plays a significant role in its taste. The water is sourced from Burton-on-Trent in England, a region known for its high mineral content. This water imparts essential salts and minerals to the beer, contributing to its unique character and flavor profile. The mineral-rich water helps to enhance the body and mouthfeel of the ale, giving it a satisfying and full-bodied texture.

Bass Ale has a long and storied history, dating back to the 18th century. It has been enjoyed by many notable figures throughout history, including artists like Édouard Manet, who famously painted a portrait featuring a bottle of Bass Ale. The beer was also a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte and was even served on the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

While Bass Ale can be classified as a bitter, it is more accurately described as a full-flavored pale ale. Its combination of selected malts, aromatic hops, and water rich in essential salts and minerals create a unique and high-quality beer that stands out from traditional bitters. Whether you enjoy it for its slight burnt roast aroma or its full-bodied flavor, Bass Ale is a beloved and iconic brew that continues to be appreciated by beer enthusiasts around the world.