Frederick Robinson Ltd., Unicorn Brewery
Stockport Cheshire, UK
Imported by: Capital Brewing Co.
Available: IA, IL, MN, OH, WI
The Unicorn Brewery was established in 1865 by the Robinson family near Manchester, in England’s Northwest region. The company is operated today by the fifth generation of family owners. Old Tom, a strong ale/barley wine, has been brewed for over a century.
Alcohol by weight: 6.8
The head here seethes with sound, so much so it almost seems alive. Not loud, but pleasant and friendly. The aromatics are very smooth, and there’s also good color and a clean palate. This beer is solid and comfortable; you could even say it was hefty. A friendly beer that relaxes one.
The beer is spectacularly attractive, a deep garnet red color with a rocky tan head. The nose is distinctly British, a spicy-earthy mélange of biscuity malts, dark fruit, sherry, port, hay and hops. Smooth and elegant. it starts dry with balanced hopping, shows some fruity sweetness in the center and then dries into a long, complex finish. This is a magnificent beer, a classic old ale that will make a perfect accompaniment to venison, lamb or Stilton cheese.
Huge head. Chestnut color. Or cherry brandy? Hint of cherries in the aroma? Perhaps I am being suggestible. Even the palate reminds me of cherry brandy, along with a nutty, chocolatey, spicy, smoky, richness. Smooth and remarkably un-cloying for a beer of this weight and strength. A classic example of an English old ale.