I am old, certainly old enough to remember the bad days in the long, long ago time before thousands of craft brewers bloomed across the land. I remember when Heineken and Becks were thought to be good beers because they were imported and those Dutch and Germans knew how to make beer. Hell, I remember when Tuborg was a good beer. Tuborg, for God’s sake!
The only lights in those dark days were Bass Ale and Guinness Stout. Both were widely available, albeit always tucked in the back of the fridge at the liquor store. There was an advantage to buying either Guinness or Bass Ale when you were underage. You were never asked for ID. It was just assumed that if you were drinking Bass or Guinness, you were old enough to drink.
I had not had a Bass Ale or a Guinness Stout in years. There have been so many new and interesting beers, I had kind of forgotten about those two, but I was in a small store near a train station and wanted to grab some beer for the night, and it was either Bass and Guinness or a couple of bomber bottles of Corona.
The Bass Ale poured a clear amber with a mild hops and malt aroma. It had a nice head and was a pleasant drink. I have grown accustomed to IPAs and Imperial IPAs punching me in the mouth with hoppy bitterness, but that was certainly not the case with Bass Ale. It was less hoppy than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but had a similar taste. I think the only problem was that the bottle had probably sat unsold for ages, so it may have been mildly skunked, but it was not awful at all. I give it a solid 6/10. Fun Historical Fact About Bass: The Red Triangle was the first registered trademark.
Being of proud Irish descent, Guinness was my drink of choice in my late teenage years. It had the reputation of being a strong beer, being black and flavorful, and I cannot tell you how many people told me that Guinness was made by “scraping the bottom of the barrel” of regular beer. Total nonsense, of course, as was the belief that Guinness had more alcohol than most beers. The Stout poured as dark as I remember it being, and I immediately noticed the aroma of toasted barley. It had a milder flavor than I remember it having, though as noted with the Bass, I have become accustomed to craft beers, and it has been years since I have had a stout that was not advertised as a chocolate stout or a coffee stout or a chocolate-coffee-mocha stout. I thoroughly enjoyed my first Guinness in years, and it has earned a spot back in my regular rotation. 7.5/10.