Nomenclatures causes some little confusion in the light beer family. What the brewer will call pale or India pale ale (I.P.A.) the consumer will invariably refer to as bitter if it comes from a barrel. The same beer becomes pale, light or I.P.A. to both brewer and customer when it comes out of a bottle. Light dinner ale, family ale, are all of the same type, the lightest having some affinity to the small beer of the 18th century.
There is no relaly satisfactory group name for the higher-gravity pale ales that include the famous quality bottled beers: Bass Pale Ale, Worthington I.P.A., Ind, Coope Double Diamond, Taylor Walker's Reserve, Charrington's Toby, Courage's Alton, Watney's Red Barrel, an increasing number of export ales, and a range of even stronger brews that border on the strong ale family.
. . .
Draught bitter, the staple drink of the saloon bar trade as mild is the staple of the public bar, is brewed from pale ale malts, often with a mixture of of maize and rice flakes to secure a clear and brilliant beer. The higher the gravity the more likely the grist will be all malt, the lower the gravity the more probable there will be additions and probably a little sugar. Although hopped more heavily than milds there is no marked bitter flavour in the lowest gravities, which can on occasion be very insipid drinks. The lower-gravity bitters or pale ales will be similar to the beers bottled as the lowest-priced light ales. In October 1952, Geoffrey Bing , M.P., mentioned in the House of Commons reports from an analyst that showed that four out of five famous London pale ales had original gravities that ranged from 1029.7º to 1032.1º, about three per cent alcohol by volume.
Draught bitter served at the proper temperatures is a refreshing drink and those who have palates attuned to dryer rather than sweet flavours will prefer bitter to mild. Bitter is usually a penny a pint or so dearer than mild sold in the same bar of the same public house, but some brewers' bitters may only be as strong as others' milds. With the products of more than five hundred breweries available, it is impossible to lay down any standard conclusions about strength, price or flavour; all depends on brewing practice, on local trade and on consumer taste.
In most saloon bars the customer will be offered bitter or best bitter, and in a free house, not tied to a particular brewer for all draught beers, he may also be offered the draught beer from one of the famous Burton breweries. The practice of stocking a 'foreign' bitter of higher-gravity beer is spreading among tied houses. Best bitters will range from 1037º to 1047º. The Burton bitters will be at the higher end of this range if they are on draught in London and Southern England public houses. In their home areas, the Midland counties, ordinary bitters will be found at gravities around 1033º-1035º. Draught Bass is the national name for a strong quality bitter well up to the 1050º mark, but there are other Bass bitters to be found in the Midlands. In London the Bass associate company, the Wenlock Brewery, provides in most of its tied houses Draught Bass and Wenlock bitter.
The individual has to choose his drink by trial and error until he finds a local draught beer that suits his palate and his pocket. The immense range available should convince him that the effort is worth while, and that bitter beer as a drink should not be rejected just because the first and second that happened to be tasted do not please."
"The Book Of Beer" by Andrew Campbell, 1956, pages 87-89.
Let's see which of the beers mentioned I have details for. Draught Bass, Wenlock Bitter, Red Barrel, Worthington IPA. I think I've got most of them.