Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bass Ale Blues

Original Memphis Five Bass Ale Blues
I recently included the above track Bass Ale Blues by the Original Memphis Five in a post on the band. This set me off thinking about Bass Ale which I have enjoyed drinking over the years.

Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton like many large companies in the early 20th Century organised annual trips out for their workers. In 1904, Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton organised a trip to Liverpool and New Brighton. The company produced a booklet to help their workers navigate their way around Liverpool and New Brighton. The booklet was reproduced a number of years ago and provides a fascinating insight into what the trips offered but also contained some interesting details such as where to find Bass Ale.

Lowry must have liked a glass of this strong beer as he has the Reverend Bill Goodyear (one of Lowry's many semi-autobiographical figure in his work) drink a glass with Firmin aboard the ferry whilst crossing the Channel in the short story 30th June 1934.

Here are some the pubs in the New Brighton area which served Bass Ale and which must have been familiar to Lowry in his visits back to his birthplace to have fun in the mid-20's to late 20's:

Many of those pubs are still with us today:

The Magazines, one of the pubs listed above, was a primary reason why I located to where I currently live because I fell in love with the area while frequenting the pub in the 70's and 80's. I now call The Telegraph my local mainly because I prefer the ambiance and the beer! Though you do do lose the river views. Probably my favourite memories of drinking Bass go back to my early years of working in Liverpool and drinking in the lunch time at the White Star pub which is one of Liverpool's most famous pubs because of its Beatle's connections.

Whilst writing this post, I discovered that Edward Manet in his famous painting Bar at the Folies-Bergère included bottles of Bass on the bar which I had never noticed before! If you visit the Wikipedia site on Bass Ale you will see that the drink has featured a lot in art.

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