A Word In Your Ear - September 5, 2019

Beer
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The Bass is as grand as ever

As the summer sporting season nears its end, last weekend our spirits were lifted by the annual beer festival at Blackpool Cricket Club.

I was delighted upon entering the hallowed marquee to see, in pride of place at the centre of a score of hand-pumps, the familiar red triangle of Draught Bass.

“We thought you’d like to taste it for us!” invited veteran organiser Alan Cross, grinning broadly alongside his eager sidekick Ray in his habitual red shorts (slightly more faded than the iconic Bass triangle).

This honour fell to me not simply because I drink this king of ales regularly at my local, Blackpool’s oldest pub the Saddle Inn at Great Marton, but also as a long-standing member of the Honourable Order of Bass Drinkers. The order meets monthly in Manchester, on the Fylde and, when the mood takes them, elsewhere.

Bass, of course, was once the main brew on this coast and part of our history. I remember Carl Swarbrick, late of the Catterall & Swarbrick brewing family, who when younger helped Bass take over the resort’s pubs.

“The bloke from their head office kept drawing up graphs of sales and order projections while taking little notice of me,” Carl recalled. “You should have seen his face when I finally managed to inform him, most of the Promenade pubs closed over winter.”

The ‘expert’ was probably as stunned as a would-be author I met by chance at a pub in Wimbledon. He was writing a history of Bass and it was at last ready for publication. Sadly, he was woefully ignorant of the Saddle still stocking Bass or even of the existence of the HOBD.

I had to put him right, as I also had to inform the expectant Alan and Ray in their beer tent.

“Yes, lads, the Bass is as grand as ever!”

n For Roy’s books visit royedmonds-blackpool.com, Kindle or Waterstones.