Name – Ginger Tom
Brewer – Robinsons
Classification – This is a bit tricky. A famous ginger ale meets a famous strong ale. So I guess that's the classification.
Strength – 6.0% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Brooding, darkest orange. In fact, make that black orange.
On the nose – Ginger. I simply don't know how else to say it.
On the tongue – Nuclear ginger. In an acutely drinkable sense.
On the subject – Robinsons Brewery have taken their iconic strong ale in new directions, there's now a 'Chocolate Tom' as well as this one. Planet Earth's many devotees of Old Tom need not worry, this beer is just too different to ever feel the need to compete.
On the market – Availability is interesting point. Far more elusive than it's ubiquitous cousin, specialist beer stores and online outlets are best to try. This little kitty came straight from the brewery.
On the whole – 8/10
On the whole – 8/10
From the side of the bottle, Old Ginger Tom was winking at me.
He'd been winking at me before I'd started to drink the beer, but now that I was drinking it, I suddenly began to realise exactly why he was winking at me.
And it wasn't because he thought I was gorgeous. Or if it was, he certainly hid it well.
He was partly winking at me because he knew that by drinking this beer – I'd been let in on the secret. The secret being that when the world renown Fentimans ginger beer is blended with the world famous 'Original' Old Tom – the result is a winning formula of biblical proportions.
He was also winking at me because he knows only too well that – as well as being manifestly delicious – this recipe is also a sackful of fun.
What a cheeky little cat he is. I'd give his cheeky little face a rub, but he'd probably just make me sneeze. Which most (real) cats tend to do.
Let me be clear about this 'fun' issue, though. This is not a 'novelty' beer. The fun loving nature of the beast has been underpinned with some very skillful flavour management, and the texture is rich and sophisticated.
But it's just inescapably playful. The various hints of coffee, black pepper, cinnamon and pear all have a playful feel to them. Even the way the ginger runs it claws down the back of your throat is done playfully.
But it's a high class sort of playfulness. I reckon the sort of fun Ginger Tom enjoys is that of a lover of dry wit and eloquent banter. I'll bet he reads the works of Oscar Wilde or Damon Runyon before curling up on his chaise-lounge for the night.
There's no point in pretending that this is an ordinary beer. The ginger theme is unquestionably and deliberately dominant and it takes this ale in a direction which most ordinary beers would never dare to tread.
But the sheer experience of this drink is one that absolutely should not be missed.