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Robinsons Brewery: Brewing Perfection and Innovation

Robinsons Brewery: Brewing Perfection and Innovation
Robinsons Brewery: Brewing Perfection and Innovation Photo Courtesy Robinsons Brewery

Founded in 1849 at the Unicorn Inn by Frederic Robinson, Robinsons Brewery in the town of Stockport in Manchester, England serves as a paradigm of British brewing excellence in terms of both historically significant English ales as well as innovative modern brews.

With over 300 pubs tenanted and managed by the brewery, Robinsons is one of the oldest and most respected names in British brewing – one that is synonymous with crafting some of the finest real ale in England.

Robinsons has remained family-owned and operated over the course of 169 years, and currently held by members of the fifth and sixth generation. With an eye toward creating interesting and engaging authentic British ales, the brewers at Robinsons are drawing on their decades of experience to develop exciting new recipes and fascinating flavor choices.

Though Robinsons represents excellence in British brewing, as well as some of the finest British beers available, that’s not the whole story. Robinsons’ website sums it up well: “The Robinsons story is not just about the history of a brewery, it’s about a family, which has played – and continues to play – an immensely important role in the British brewing and pub industry.”

Under the savvy management of the Robinsons family, the brewery has achieved significant growth throughout the years. As brewing equipment has become more advanced, Robinsons’ brewing practices also have been streamlined, expanded and upgraded. Today its facilities are among “the most advanced and sophisticated breweries in the U.K.,” according to the Robinsons website.

“To maintain our exceptional consistency and beer excellence, our brewing methods are a carefully controlled combination of temperature, timing and flow rates,” a release from Robinsons explains. “This helps us reduce variation and save on time, materials and utilities. The end result? The unmistakable taste of Robinsons beer.”

Many of those expertly crafted Robinsons beers are among the most popular British ales in the world. Here are a few of their most notable brews.


Unicorn – 4.3% ABV – Best Bitter

The flagship beer of Robinsons Brewery, Unicorn first debuted in 1896 under the name Robinsons Best Bitter.

While the beer has undergone multiple redesigns over the years and a name change, it still remains a prototypical example of one of Britain’s best-known beer styles: Best Bitter.

Roasty yet light on the palate, Unicorn is an eminently quaffable exemplar of the Best Bitter style.

According to Robinsons, Unicorn is “dripping with heritage and is a magnificent, thirst-quenching, thoroughbred bitter. The first of a bloodline that continues to this day.”


Iron Maiden Trooper – 4.7% ABV – Strong Bitter

Perhaps the most well-known Robinsons beer of the past decade is the brewery’s collaboration brew with legendary metal band Iron Maiden and its lead singer Bruce Dickinson. The Trooper is a Strong Bitter and is named after the band’s 1983 single The Trooper from the critically acclaimed album (and heavy metal touchstone) Piece of Mind.

 

 

Created through collaborating with Iron Maiden’s lead singer (and noted beer connoisseur) Bruce Dickinson, the original Iron Maiden Trooper is a flavor-packed Strong Bitter style beer featuring a subtle blend of Bobek, Goldings and Cascade hops that provide an earthy, citrusy and slightly lemony aroma and flavor.

A thirst-quenching and delectable beer with an interesting origin story set against the backdrop of Iron Maiden’s music makes for a very compelling pint; Trooper was an instant hit and has exploded in popularity since its debut in 2013.

Because of the success of the first collaboration, Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden and Robinsons have produced multiple spin-off beers, such as Trooper Hallowed (“a Belgian beer with a British twist,” according to Dickinson) and Trooper Light Brigade, a Blonde Ale.


Old Tom – 8.5% ABV – British Strong Ale

Billed as “the original craft beer” by Robinsons, Old Tom is a strikingly dark British Strong Ale that clocks in at 8.5% ABV.

Rich, warming and with elements of dark fruit, a smack of hop bitterness and a heady, port wine-like finish, Old Tom serves as a preeminent example of the British Strong Ale style.

This dangerously drinkable Strong Ale was first produced by Robinsons in 1899. According to the brewery, “this superior dark ale is recognized, nationally and internationally, as one of the premier strong ales.”

Old Tom has won some of the brewing industry’s most prestigious awards, including World’s Best Ale and Champion Beer of Britain on multiple occasions.

Old Tom has proved so popular that Robinsons has created numerous related beers over the years that play on the name, including Ginger Tom, Blonde Tom and Chocolate Tom. Featuring various ingredient infusions, they’re chock-full of fascinating flavors while retaining the same inviting Old Tom base.

After a recent redesign, the original Old Tom and its more recent brethren, Ginger Tom and Blonde Tom, were bestowed with the title of “World’s Best Design” at the 2017 World Beer Awards.

 

 


Recently, Robinsons has begun experimenting with more modern styles, such as Pale Ales (Mojo) and India Pales Ales (Beardo I.P.A.), branching out to keep up with changing tastes in a competitive market. Robinsons also provides kegging and bottling services for other breweries at its Bredbury location.

With a family of 300 pubs and restaurants all fully owned and operated by the brewery, it’s possible to sample Robinsons in many locations throughout northern England. Visiting the brewery proper is possible through an online ticket purchase. Visitors can enjoy the “brewery experience” as well as a visit to see the Robinsons shire horses, which are two of the few shire horses remaining in the British brewing industry.

Address:
Lower Hillgate
Stockport
Manchester
SK1 1
United Kingdom

Telephone:
+0161 612 4061

Photos Courtesy Robinsons Brewery