Looking for Bass Ale alternatives

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by tabascocat1994, Jan 14, 2023.

  1. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    PLEASE HELP. Because InBev has killed off my favorite beer, Bass Ale, can anyone suggest an alternative? I am drinking Smithwick's now, which is fine, but it is hard to locate in my area. As for Micro-Brews, I am more of a Macro-Brew type of guy. Other beers I drink are Guinness and Stella, but I really want to find an Amber/Red Ale.

    (Apparently, I am allergic to a lot of Micro-Brews. Anything that is hazy kills me. Seems like a lot of Micro-Brews fall into that category.)
  2. AZgman

    AZgman Zealot (722) Dec 22, 2011 Arizona

  3. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Grand Pooh-Bah (3,424) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey

    How about New Belgium Fat Tire? Amber ale and not very micro-brewy.
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  4. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Might want to figure out what ingredient is bad for you. Doubt it’s Only in “micro” beer. How does hazy “kill you”?

    Nugget Nectar, not hazy.

  5. Foyle

    Foyle Maven (1,445) Sep 29, 2007 North Carolina

    I am in the same boat as the OP. I was a huge Bass Ale fan and have yet to be able to find anything that tastes similar. Hard to believe such a historical, classic brew is no longer made (at least in the US).
  6. BruChef

    BruChef Pundit (871) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    Fuller’s London Pride

    or, although it’s seasonal,

    Brooklyn Summer Ale (or Pennant Ale. I think summer ale replaced Pennant ale or was re-named or something)
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    This is going to be trickier than you think. English Pale Ale or Bitter is getting very tough to find in the US; and whatever our local craft brewers are making is usually not fermented properly, so the yeast signature isn't right (which is seriously important for this style).

    The imports will have the right character but will also sit on the shelves too long when you can get one.

    The Old Speckled Hen and Fuller's are great suggestions. I'd start there, or if you can get Well's Bombardier. Hopefully they are in decent enough shape to be enjoyable.

    If you're in the New England area I'd also look into trying Cisco Whale's Tale.

    Alternatively, you may have a local brewer who's doing it the right way. Please let us know your general location for better suggestions.
  9. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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  10. steveh

    steveh Grand Pooh-Bah (3,988) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Can you please expand on this observation? Enquiring palates want to know.

    To me, I always think craft brewers miss using the right malts -- Maris Otter, to be specific, but that may just be a personal preference.
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  11. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I've had beers using Marris Otter and Goldings that still didn't get it right, because they were made in the brewer's normal conical. I believe that the English yeasts get their fullest expression when used in open fermenters, based on my own experience and talking with various brewers through the years.
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  12. ramseye4

    ramseye4 Pundit (979) May 14, 2010 Virginia

    It’s another InBev product now but I’ve always found Boddingtons to be pretty enjoyable and easily found.

    Fullers ESB is excellent also, but not sure how easy it will be to find
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  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Michael, I also have an opinion that fermentation temperatures play a notable role here too. When I brew my annual batch of Bitter Ale, in addition to using floor malted Maris Otter Pale Malt I use the Timothy Taylor's Landlord yeast strain and I make it a point to ferment warm (e.g., 70 degrees F).

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  14. dcotom

    dcotom Grand Pooh-Bah (4,896) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Pipeworks Blood of the Unicorn (assuming they're still brewing it and assuming you're in the distribution area).

    Here's a link to a listing of the Amber/Red ales on BA:
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  15. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I agree that this is trickier than one would expect. US craft/micro beers are often going to be putting too much emphasis on toasty malts and hops (compared to Bass) and not enough emphasis on fruitiness. Idiosyncratic UK imports (like Fullers or Samuel Smith) are likely to have equally idiosyncratic flavor profiles compared to Bass.

    The following recommendations can be very different from one another... so just take these all as possible places to experiment with rather than a list of interchangeable beers. UK imports are not very common right now. I'll add another recommendation for Old Speckled Hen. Other imported options are Belhaven Scottish Ale, Boddingtons, and lastly Robinsons Trooper (the regular one) if the price of that one doesn't turn you off.

    I want to give a few choices out of left field. If you are willing to try US beers, give Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Blue Point Toasted Lager a shot. Maybe go really outside the box and try an imported dark German lager like Hofbrau Dunkel. That last one might be a longshot, but it might actually have a better chance of scratching the itch compared to many US craft/micro beers that are made to be in the same category as Bass. Although nobody here would put these beers in the same category as Bass, I think it might pay to be flexible in this case.
  16. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    That’s been recommended before. I’ll try it.
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  17. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    Taste is agreeable, but makes me sick.
  18. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    By “kills me,” I mean makes me throw up. Don’t know why. I would love to figure out the “ingredient” but it’s a process of elimination. Typically, it’s a hazy, hoppy beer.

    Smithwicks is my go to. Never tried Nugget Nectar but will try it. THANKS
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  19. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    Been around since 1777 and InBev killed it. Makes no sense to me.
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  20. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    I’ll try them. thanks
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  21. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    Thank you for the response. Old Speckled Hen keeps coming up. I’ll try that next. I have been hesitant b/c of the cost. I tend to be a high volume drinker.
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  22. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    I’ll try them. Thank you
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  23. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    Thanks for the list
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  24. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    Funny, Sam Adams taste is agreeable. However, it falls in the same category as Fat Tire. Makes me sick. Those don’t absolutely kill me like some of the hazy, amber microbrews but are not good either. .
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  25. tabascocat1994

    tabascocat1994 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2023 Florida

    With Bass, I loved the taste (fruity/caramel). It was sufficiently crisp. Also, never once gave me a hangover, no matter how many I drank, and surely never made me throw up while drinking. When I say throw up too, it has nothing to do with getting drunk. Literally, two glasses of the wrong stuff will do it.
  26. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Grand Pooh-Bah (5,765) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
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  27. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,164) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    This is sad! Bass was my go-to in college. I guess I'll never get to relive those days though that beer. Probably a good thing...
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  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Did they? Or did they stop exporting Bass Ale to the US and then stop brewing Bass Ale at some AB breweries in the US? Last I recall the Bass Ale in the UK was two different versions, brewed at different breweries (Marston's), a cask version and a bottled/canned version - not sure if the latter survives?

    Can't recall if the UK's packaged Bass was the same recipe as exported (doubtful) and then the ale brewed in the US but it was acknowledged by a US AB employee here on BA that the beer was lacking and they were considering a new recipe.

    Wasn't too long ago that ABInBev let it be known that the Bass brand was on the market (except for the UK) and there were no takers.

    And, of course, Bass Ale, domestic and exported, has changed constantly since the late 18th century (see some of the stats from a century ago at Ron Pattinson's website https://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2021/07/bass-and-allsopp-ipa-1851-1901.html ).

    Can't speak for that version of Bass Ale :grin: but I recall be shocked at the pre-InBev version, bottled and draught, exported to the US in the 1990s compared to the bottled version I first drank in 19790s. Quite insipid - when a friend gave me a bottle I thought he was playing a trick on the beer geek - adding brown food coloring to Budweiser and pouring it into a Bass bottle.

    Ultimately, there's little doubt, given the fact that the company is run by accountants that IF Bass Ale sold well in the US or worldwide, it would not have disappeared from the US market. (Doesn't look like Canada has Bass, either - not sure if they ever brewed it a In-Bev-owned Labatt breweries for their domestic market).
    #28 jesskidden, Jan 20, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2023
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  29. JoeSpartaNJ

    JoeSpartaNJ Zealot (545) Feb 5, 2008 New Jersey

    If beer is making you physically sick.....you may want to switch to something different.

    If its hoppy beers doing this to you, you may be allergic to hops.
  30. Providence

    Providence Pooh-Bah (2,366) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Pooh-Bah Trader

  31. JimKal

    JimKal Savant (1,137) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    If you're right, he may want to try the new Fat Tire as the ivy's have dropped to 15. Or he might want to try some of the brown ales as a more malt forward option.
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  32. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,670) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Pooh-Bah Society

    If you can find the non nitro version, you'll get more flavour than the nitro. Trust me.
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  33. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I don't mean this disrespectfully, but if Boston Lager makes you physically ill and throw up for reasons other than alcohol intake, you are wasting your time and playing with your health by getting beer recommendations on this site. You are better off seeing a doctor instead.
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  34. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Grand Pooh-Bah (3,446) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I don’t remember seeing a locally made Bass here. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I saw Bass on shelves in Ontario. Our selection from the British Isles is generally lacking though. That said the recent availability of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Allsopp’s IPA has been great. Still, it seems that 9 out of every ten beers we get from the UK and Ireland are some Innes and Gunn product. I have t had anything from them I’d bother buying again.
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Yeah, wasn't sure but since so many other large "imported" brands have been brewed in Canada (Guinness, Carlsberg, Lowenbrau, Red Stripe, Toby Ale, Henninger, Amstel, Sapporo, etc.) over the years, some for your domestic market, some exported to the US, I figured it could be possible given what ABInBev has moved to the US (Beck's, St. Pauli Girl, Bass). :grin:

    Oh, yeah? Who's brewing that?

    In the US (NJ anyway) I've seen Timothy Taylor Landlord very infrequently and when I do I usually question its freshness.
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  36. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Grand Pooh-Bah (3,446) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    In recent years, fewer and fewer of these brands you note are made domestically. Carlsberg and Lowenbrau are imports now. I believe Sapporo is brewed in Guelph at the Sleemans brewery. I’ll need to check a can of Beck’s next time i deign to visit an LCBO.

    The Landlord we have now is a little long in the tooth. I think the last shipment came in about 6-9 months ago. It was pretty fresh when it first hit shelves here.

    I think the Allsopp family have revived the brewery. The bottles we have on shelves now are from the UK. I read something about it when it was new to our shelves but can’t find it now.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,069) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have never seen packaged Landlord at any of my local beer retailers. I have only had the pleasure to drink this beer on tap (cask) at local beer events.

    You are fortunate that McClelland Premium Imports brings this beer into Ontario (and makes it available to other provinces?).

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  38. KT3418

    KT3418 Pooh-Bah (1,789) Mar 18, 2021 Colorado

    If hoppy stuff is making you sick I'd stay away from Nugget Nectar. Very very hoppy American red ale.
  39. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Grand Pooh-Bah (3,446) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    . I’d never seen it in Ontario before last year. I know they had it in BC before that though as a friend out there I trade with sent me a couple bottles a few years back. It might be a different importer though. Not sure.

    Definitely lucky. It is a great beer. I’d last had it back in the late 90s in the UK.
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  40. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
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    Samuel Smith’s Pale Ale is also worth a shot, but pricey as well.

    Personally I tend to mix in expensive stuff that scratches a particular itch with cheaper stuff that I also enjoy.
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