Friday, May 23, 2008

Bass Brolly

At long last, the Bass Brolly post.

Now what, you might ask, is a Bass Brolly? It is a nifty looking little device that will help you pour a perfect Black & Tan. A Black & Tan is a layered beverage that has a lighter ale or lager on the bottom and a heavier stout on the top. Wait, how can that be? Shouldn't that be the other way around? Well, no, and that is because, contrary to most people's belief, stout is actually lighter than ales and lagers, much like cream is actually lighter than milk. If you don't believe me just ask yourself How come cream floats on top of milk? And how come a Guinness Stout floats on top of a Bass Ale?

But, back to the Bass Brolly.

And Here It Is, The Bass Brolly

As you can see, it is a rather simple device that sits on top of your pint glass. It is just a very triangular depression with holes along the sides and extensions to allow you to hook it on top of your glass. Simple, yet elegant.

All Of The Essentials

To make the Black & Tan you need a pint glass, or two along with a bottle of your choice of a lager or ale and a bottle of your favorite stout and, of course, your Bass Brolly. As you can see, I chose the traditional ingredients, a Bass Ale and a Guinness Stout.

Step One

The first step is to pour about a half pint of the Bass Ale into your glass. It is suggested that you pour it aggressively to get a good sized head.

Step Two

The second step is to carefully pour the Guinness into the center of the Bass Brolly, taking care not to cause an overflow and to let the Guinness seep through the holes.

The Finished Product

As you can see, you get a very nicely layered Black & Tan, just like the professionals pour.

Bar Man And Jim Enjoying Our Pour

Now, is the Bass Brolly the best thing since sliced bread? Sadly, it is not. There are a few design flaws that are problematic. First, you have to pour your Guinness at an excruciatingly slow rate to avoid over-flowing the Bass Brolly and ruining your Black & Tan. This is exacerbated by the fact that the foam from the Guinness seems to clog the holes which, I think, should be larger. Now if you have ever tried to pour a beer really slow you will see that it is hard to do without dribbling beer down the neck of the bottle. And, indeed, this is what happens.

As an experiment I made a smaller (running low on ingredients) Black & Tan just using a tablespoon up against the side of the glass when I poured the Guinness. The results weren't that much different. Why my friend Jerry (he of The Opener fame) can't seem to do this is beyond me, but his are always a mess.

The Tablespoon Version

Jim tried to pour one free-hand, but his just turned out to be a mess too.

A Failed Attempt

The world is still waiting for the solution to pouring the perfect Black & Tan. In the meantime I recommend doing what I do, go to your favorite watering hole and leave the pouring to a professional.

My sister, Paula, informed me that she was the one responsible for my getting the Bass Brolly. That cleared up a bit of a mystery. I once got a spoon for making these from Guinness, but I had entered a slogan contest so they had my mailing information. I couldn't figure out how Bass got it though.

Oh, by the way, the slogan contest was for a chance to win a pub in Ireland. My slogan, obviously, didn't make the cut. And what was my slogan?

Drinking a Guinness: Like falling face down into a puddle of mud.

Not sure why they didn't like it.

Now, slogan aside, I do like a nicely poured Guinness. Either draft or in the little bottles. Not a big fan of the draught cans though. And my favorite Black & Tan (cover your eyes Bass fans) is Guinness and Speckled Hen. Bass will certainly do, though, and Speckled Hen is devilishly hard to find.