Meet Hogs Back Brewery
Hi Rupert! For our fans who haven’t heard of Hogs Back Brewery before, can we have a little introduction?
We’re a small, family-owned business, tucked away in the village of Tongham, in the heart of the old hop-growing region of Surrey. We’ve been brewing beer on the same site for 25 years. The brewery occupies 18th century farm buildings that at various times have stored wheat, housed cattle, and very appropriately, hogs!
The recipe for our flagship and multi- award winning Traditional English Ale, affectionately named TEA when it was launched 25 years ago, has hardly changed. We continue to brew a range of traditional ales, such as Hogs Back Bitter,Hop Garden Gold, Gardeners Tipple, RIP Snorter, OTT and the wonderful barley wine, A Over T, but in response to fans wishes, we’ve launched 10 new flavors from apple Cider to Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager – the only lager in the world that is brewed using real chocolate!
Perhaps our biggest innovation is reviving the direct link between the brewer and his hops by growing our own hop. In 2014, we planted our own 3½ acre Revival Hop Garden, the first new hop garden in the old hop growing region of Farnham for nearly 100 years. We grow 3 varieties of hops to allow us to brew a range of beers.
The hop garden is just across the road from the brewery – and has become a local landmark. It means we can source ~70% of our hops with a 4-mile radius of the brewery – from the hop estate at Puttenham and our own hop garden. Not only does it make us better brewers by understanding our raw ingredients better, but it means our brewing is more sustainable. We were lucky enough to be featured on BBC CountryFile last year.
We celebrate the harvest each year with a Hop Harvest party, with green-hopped beer and live music. This year the celebration on 23rd September will be bigger than ever, as we will also be celebrating 25 years of brewing beer and winning awards.
The brewery is open for guided tours and the Brewery Shop stocks a full range of our draught and bottled ales, as well as up to 300 bottled beers from the UK and the rest of the world.
We believe it is important to give something back to the community so we aim to make a donation each year to charitable causes, either local charities or national charities with a local provenance, via our Charitable Trust Fund. This year, we are pleased to be working with Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. To date, we have donated £7,500 and hope to increase this to £15,000 by the end of the year.
What was the inspiration for starting Hogs Back Brewery?
Martin Hunt started the brewery back in 1992. Local pubs and consumers wanted a good quality local beer but at that time, there were very few breweries in Surrey. Martin took the initiative and opened the brewery on August 4th, with his first ever brew of TEA. The brew proved so popular it sold out immediately. The rest, as they say, is history.
We have to ask from one quirky named business to another – where did the name come from?
The brewery takes its name from the nearby Hogs Back – a medieval trading and pilgrim route between Farnham and Guildford, sometimes less glamorously known as the A31! The Hogs Back is a ridge of hills and is supposed to resemble a supine hog. We like to think the name and brand logo match our quirky sense of humour.
Talk us through the making of our best-selling Exclusive Personalised Trio
We wanted to give consumers a great introduction to the brewery’s range of beers:
Over the Moon is a classic well-balanced 4.2% ABV traditional ale, brewed with the finest English malt, beautifully balanced with local Fuggles hops. It is gently fermented to leave some of the natural malt sugars for a full, satisfying flavour. Piggyback is a light, refreshing golden ale, crafted with a fine blend of best English malted barley and fresh local Fuggles hops. At 4.4% ABV it has the perfect balance of aroma and bitterness with a long dry finish and a slight hint of fruit and sweetness.
By contrast, High on the Hog is a traditional “Strong English Ale” at 5% ABV, reddish amber in colour with a powerful malty base and refreshing hoppy high notes. It is brewed with the finest English pale malt combined with some crystal and a touch of chocolate malt. A combination of Fuggles, Goldings and Bramling Cross hops are then added at three stages during the copper boil.
The personalised labels add a real sense of fun, and the wooden trug comes complete with bottle-opener!
Most important question of all, what’s your favourite meal or snack to pair with a glass of Hogs Back?
You can’t beat traditional fish and chips with a pint of TEA or spicy chorizo with our Hogstar Lager.
Shop our range of Hogs Back beers now!