That’s Bass: the intertwined history of a pale ale, politics, boycotts and Brexit


After 50 years of tippling Bass Pale Ale, Bertie Ahern finds it’s no longer on sale in these parts due to Brexit. This is a curious footnote to a long intertwining of the three-times Taoiseach’s favourite tipple with Ireland’s sometimes troubled political history.

Don’t order a ‘Black and Tan’ in an Irish pub,” early British visitors to the new Free State were advised by one guide book. The name for that mix of Guinness and Bass Pale Ale had very different connotations on this side of the water, the cautionary explanation went – not needing to add that innocent foreign drinkers collected a broken jaw for far less.

But the Irish political links to Bass go back much further, intrepid researchers assure us. Take the notorious murders of two of London’s most senior officials, Burke and Cavendish, at the Phoenix Park in Dublin on the evening of May 6, 1882, by the notorious Invincibles, a splinter group of the Fenians.



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