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.