True Thomas

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?



  1. Posted 1 August, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    It is always ‘on’ at the Black Horse in Preston. A must visit for me when I am visiting Preston!

    • M.Lawrenson
      Posted 1 August, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m a regular at the Black Horse and the longest I’ve seen the Old Tom off is about 20 minutes when they’re cleaning the lines.

      I don’t know how much they go through there, but I see a lot drunk whenever I’m in (not by me, I add – I have a half at the end of each session).

      • John Clarke
        Posted 1 August, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Robinsons stop making Old Tom available on draught in about May and it comes back again in September. Of course some pubs stock up to see them through

      • Phil
        Posted 2 August, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Sadly, not including the Castle – when I went in yesterday they’d run out.

        Running total of pubs where you can get Old Tom in the summer months: 1, in Preston!

      • M.Lawrenson
        Posted 2 August, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        When I’m in The ‘Orse next on Sunday I’ll ask how they manage to keep Old Tom on all the time. The cellar must be full of the stuff. Explains why they once ran out of Unicorn and Dizzy Blonde on the same day. Probably no room for more than one cask of each.

    • M.Lawrenson
      Posted 15 August, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Seems Robbies are having supply problems. The manager at the Black Horse told me that they’re making all the draymen redundant and going over to Tradeteam. As a result, the beer delivery is somewhat less well done than previously.

      The ‘Orse was nearly the pub with no beer on Monday. They were down to Golden Dragon, Old Tom, 1892 and Thwaites Wainwright when I arrived. The mild went after a couple of pints. I heard the clanking of casks from outside later on, though, so I presume normal service has now been resumed.


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