Festive cheer with local beer!

Karen Neville

Hogs Back

Hogs Back Brewery gears up for Christmas with new beer and parties at its Tap

Hogs Back Brewery is getting ready for Christmas! The Tongham brewery has a trio of festive beers, available from the Brewery Shop and Tap as well as local pubs. For anyone after some festive fun in the brewery, ‘Winter Wonderland’ nights in December offer delicious food, drink and a crowd-pleasing disco.

Newly brewed for this Christmas is Fairy Tale of New Pork, a 4% ABV amber ale available on draught. Brewed with authentic beechwood smoked German malt, English pale and crystal malts, it has flavours of cinder toffee, caramel, biscuit and warm smokiness.

Fairy Tale of New Pork joins two returning seasonal favourites: Mistletoe & Swine, a 4.2% ABV, full-bodied cask ale with subtle hints of sultana, peppery ginger, warm cinnamon and orange zest and Advent Ale, a 4.4% deep chestnut ale with notes of sweet liquorice and rich dark chocolate aftertaste, which is available in bottle as well as on draught – making the perfect stocking filler for a beer lover! 

Fun on Tap

The brewery’s Tap has become a destination for great beer, food and regular performances from local bands when it becomes a party space every Friday and Saturday night, offering a range of menus – including vegan options – and drinks packages to suit every taste and budget. And with a DJ playing all the hits through til midnight, it’s a great way to celebrate the party season with friends or work colleagues. Book your table and dust off your dancing shoes now!

Other festive events at the Tap include a special family-friendly charity quiz on Thursday 21st December. Or just book a Tap table with friends for any night and enjoy a Snorter – a refillable glass flagon containing 31/2 pints of any of Hogs Back’s festive or year-round favourites, fresh from the brewery.

And for designated drivers or those wanting to take a break from drinking, Hogs Back’s Little Swine 0.5% is a full-bodied, flavourful pale ale. Brewed with speciality malts and three hop varieties including Cascade from Hogs Back’s hop garden, Little Swine allows offers all the taste of a full-strength beer, without the alcohol. Available in 330ml bottles from the Tap or Brewery Shop.

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: “The run up to Christmas is always a busy time for us: we’re brewing flat out to meet demand from pubs and customers in our Shop, and at the same time we’re hosting parties and other events in the Tap. There’s always a great atmosphere with many of our regular drinkers popping in to pick up supplies for their celebrations at home, or to meet friends for a drink.”

For more details on events at the Hogs Back Tap, go here. The Brewery Shop will be open for extended hours from December, for details go here.

Hogs Back Brewery celebrate hop harvest

Karen Neville

Hogs Back

Record number of guests enjoy beer and entertainment at Hop Harvest Festival

A record number of people enjoyed Hogs Back Brewery’s hop harvest and raised more than £2,500 for a local charity as they did so.

More than 3,500 guests savoured beer, food, live music and family entertainment in the late summer sunshine in Tongham, Surrey, over the weekend of September 15th to 17th, making it Hogs Back’s biggest hop harvest party ever.

This year, for the first time, the entertainment started on the Friday evening, with a new ‘Roots’ concert on the Festival stage, headlined by folk musician Seth Lakeman. On Saturday, crowds gathered from early afternoon to watch lively performances from six bands, culminating in a set of crowd-pleasing covers from headliners Bloomfield Avenue. Compere David Whitney kept people entertained as bands changed over, and performances were live streamed to the Beer Garden for those wanting a more chilled musical experience.

At Sunday’s TEA Party, a more family-friendly vibe took over, with plenty of entertainment for children of all ages. The fun included a circus workshop, archery, inflatable slides, Mr Magic show, farmyard animals and electric skateboarding, as well as the ever-popular dray rides around the Hop Garden. There was music for the younger crowd too, with the popular Harry Styles Experience topping the bill.

Across the weekend, guests enjoyed the full range of Hogs Back beers, including Green TEA – a variation of the brewer’s flagship Tongham TEA, brewed with fresh ‘green’ hops straight from their hop garden. Food included hog roast, pizzas and authentic Indian dishes from local Mandira’s Kitchen. In line with Hogs Back’s ambitious sustainability aims, no single use plastics were used, replaced with reusable or compostable items.

One of the highlights of the weekend was, as in previous years, the competition for best hop-decorated hat, this year won by Jonathon. The custom of raising money for a local charity was also continued as the Prostate Project, based in Guildford, took a stand at the event and received all donations made on the dray rides. In total, the charity raised £2,543 over the weekend.

Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back managing director, said: “Every year, we say we’ve just had our best Hop Harvest Party ever – and it’s always true! This year we had more guests than ever before, more bands on the Festival stage, fabulous entertainment for families – and we enjoyed nearly all of it in glorious sunshine.

“The whole event was staffed by the Hogs Back team, so a big thank you to them, as well as to local businesses and volunteers, and to the many local people who joined us to create the party.”

He added: “We have already set the dates for next year’s Hop Harvest celebrations, which will run on 13th,14th and 15th September. We look forward to an even bigger and better event.”

Hogs Back harvested three hop varieties this year: Fuggles, used in Tongham TEA; English Cascade, used in its Hogstar lager and Surrey Nirvana Session IPA; and Farnham White Bine, a traditional local variety that the brewer saved from near-extinction by planting in its hop garden in 2014.

Thompson said: “We’re delighted to have harvested hops from our own hop garden for the eighth year. This year’s crop won’t be our biggest, due to the wet weather in July and August, but the hops we have are of good quality and will add distinctive flavours to our beers.  We’re proud to be growing hops just yards from the brewery, helping to reduce our food miles and achieve our goal of being an ever more sustainable brewer.

“It’s rewarding to have reinstated hop farming in Farnham and we know it’s meant a lot to local people. We’re grateful for their support, particularly the 50 Hogs Back Hopper volunteers who helped us bring in the harvest. It’s hard physical work over a few weeks and they certainly earned themselves a few pints!”

Three Hogs for Three Lions

Karen Neville

Hogs Back

Hogs Back Brewery backs England’s World Cup bid with free beer (if they reach the final)

Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery is offering drinkers a free pint of Three Hogs, its beer specially brewed for football-watching, if England reach the World Cup final in December.

The brewer is ready for a bonanza beer giveaway, after it made the same pledge last year and honoured it when England reached the Euros final. Three Hogs was first brewed for the Euros in 2016 and will be available on draught and in 500ml bottles.

A 4% ABV golden ale, Three Hogs in brewed with a selection of English malts and hops including Fuggles grown in the Hogs Back hop garden next to the brewery, as well as Cascade and Centennial. The pump clip and bottle label describe the ale as “a beer of two halves: refreshingly hoppy up front, followed by a balancing bitterness and a hint of sweetness to finish.”

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “Many Hog Back drinkers look forward to the return of Three Hogs with each international tournament. This World Cup is going to feel very different to the euros, taking place at a different time of year, and in a different time zone. But the nation’s hopes will still be pinned on England lifting the trophy, especially after they reached the finals last year.

“Millions of people will be watching the home nations’ matches with friends, family and fellow football lovers. A pint of easy-drinking beer like Three Hogs is an enjoyable part of the occasion. Let’s hope that we might finally be raising a glass to a victorious English side on 18th December.”

Hogs Back will be screening a number of matches in its Brewery Tap, depending on timings, including the England v Wales fixture on 29th November. Guests will be able to enjoy the football accompanied by a range of Hogs Back beers and food including their popular stone-baked pizzas. Bookings for places or tables are open at https://hogsback.co.uk/products/tap-room-booking-access

Thompson added: “During the Euros, the excitement in the Brewery Tap built to fever pitch, and we were sold out ahead of the final. It’s a great space for watching sport and we’re looking forward to welcoming football fans to enjoy the tournament with us again.”

If England reach the final, customers will be able to claim a free pint of Three Hogs – or another Hogs Back beer, depending on availability – by visiting the Brewery Tap between 11am and 2pm on 18th December.

Three Hogs, Hogs Back’s beer for the World Cup, is available on draught and in 500ml bottles