Phenols are acidic because of the ease with which the oxygen atom will release the hydrogen bonded to it. This section describes typical reactions that occur as a result of the acidity of phenols. Reactions with bases Because phenol is acidic, it reacts with bases to form salts. Esterification of phenol Phenols form esters with acid anhydrides and acid chlorides. Williamson ether synthesis Ethers are produced from phenol by the Williamson method via an S N mechanism.