1. Robinson’s Old Tom

Where better to start then, than with the self-professed “World’s Best Ale”? At least, that’s what it says on the bottle, although it doesn’t elaborate on the basis for the claim. I think we’ll be the judge of that.


Old Tom is a strong Old Ale weighing in at a daunting 8.5% ABV which, following on from Old Freddy Walker’s 7.3%, is enough to have me thinking this 300 beer challenge could be more than I bargained for.

The beer pours a very dark ruby colour, with a large off-white head that quickly dissipates to a faint lacing. There’s a toffee/caramel nose that suggests we can expect a lot of sweetness to help cover that hefty ABV.

So, is this the world’s best ale? Well, no. In fact it’s pretty unpleasant. That tooth-jangling sweetness is there in abundance, while the body is cloyingly sticky and thinner than Posh Spice’s left contact lens.

Aside from the sugar, the predominant flavours are of an inevitable hangover and £2.15 that I’ll never have back, though there’s a smoky, bonfire toffee note that just about saves this beer from being utterly repugnant.

Facts and Figures

Brewery: Robinsons, Stockport, England
Style: Old Ales, Barley Wines and Vintage Ales
Strength: 8.5% ABV
Found at: Sainsbury’s, Westow Street, London SE19
Dispense: 330ml Bottle

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