I was in Stockport the other night – and by the Lord, it was dead. Last time I was in the area all the pubs seemed to be closed for the afternoon; this time there were pubs closed for the evening all over the place, and one that turned me away because it was just closing – at 7.00. A few oases – the Crown, the Railway in Portwood – were doing well, but elsewhere pickings were slim indeed.
What I found particularly hard to find – impossible, to be precise – was Old Tom. In a couple of Robbies’ pubs I was offered the bottled variety when I asked (“we’ve got the ones with different flavours”). I thought I was in luck at the Tiviot, but the Old Tom handpump wasn’t in use – the barman told me they only have it on in the winter months.
This takes the sum total of pubs where I know Old Tom is available to, er, 1 – and that’s the Castle in Manchester, where it’s served from a pin on the bar. Old Tom poured out of a box is very nice, but I can’t help suspecting it’d be even nicer pulled through. (I’ve got fond memories of drinking draught Owd Roger at Rothwell’s, which was a bit of a Marston’s tap for a while.)
So: Old Tom is available on draught, all the year round… anywhere? Anyone? Bueller?