The irony that I’ve moved from Surrey near Guildford in Canada to Surrey near Guildford in England (at least until we head up to London next week) isn’t lost on me. This time I’m not talking about Central City, Russell Brewing, or Big Ridge, but Hogs Back Brewery. Much to my surprise, I learned of Hogs Back Brewing through Google Buzz. It was recommended to me by a friend of friend in Canada who originally comes from Surrey. Without a car, I was trying to figure out how to get to Hogs Back when a random Google Buzz user let me know of a few pubs in Guildford that carry their brews. Who knew people used Google Buzz? Anyway, I eventually found Hogs Back’s beers at a small beer and wine shop in Shalford.
I picked up TEA and OTT, which stand for Traditional English Ale and Old Tongham Tasty (Tongham is the town Hogs Back is based in); both are bottle conditioned. I’ve only tried TEA so far and I quite liked it. As the name says, it is a traditional bitter. I found it to be pleasantly malty and full of flavor, if lacking in hops for my tastes. So far I’ve found that English brewers tend to focus on malt and its subtleties, versus North American brewers who make much more use of hops to provide bold flavors and bite. While both approaches have their merits, I’m currently enjoying the excellent session brews the British brewers are brewing (most bitters weigh in at 4% ABV). I’ll definitely buy TEA again and I can’t wait to try the other interesting beers that Hogs Head has to offer.
Jet lagged in Guildford two years ago
My wife and I moved to London, England last week. We’ve been staying with my gracious great aunt in Guildford, Surrey, an accessible train ride from the city. We’ll hopefully be able to continue doing so until we find our own flat (British for apartment), which will hopefully be soon. It is true that everyone here talks funny and drives on the wrong side of the road, but I suppose we should be thankful the British sent all of their smart, good looking people to Canada (and their dumb and ugly to the US) 400 or so years ago to improve upon their language and culture. Even though Canada is eleven times better than the UK, we decided to come experience the old country and the rest of Europe before we became bored enough to try having babies. In all seriousness now, it was time for a change in our commute heavy and not entirely fulfilling lives, so here we are. I mean no offense to people who have babies (we’ll be them soon enough) and very little offense to the UK (come on, it isn’t perfect here).
What does this mean for LoveGoodBeer.com? Not a whole heck of a lot really. We’ll continue blogging, Erik from Vancouver and myself from here. And while I’ll miss the burgeoning BC beer scene, there will be plenty of new beer experiences for me to have and write about. I’ve already been to two British pubs (the Lamb and Flag and the Grantley Arms) and sipped real ale, but I also plan to visit Belgium, Oktoberfest, and more of the UK, including the GBBF, in the coming months. Erik plans to visit twice too, meaning our entire staff of writers will be reunited, however briefly, across the pond. Back to things that I’ll miss, I don’t know how I’m going to live without Brewery Creek and the Alibi Room, not to mention my friends and family, for however long we’re over here. Hopefully the experiences will make up for any sense of loss, but I’ll just have to hope everything isn’t too different when I get back. I will miss Vancouver and those close to me there dearly.