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It's a Hoppy Christmas at Hogs Back

Added: Saturday, December 6th 2014

Hogs back planting

Staff at Hogs Back Brewery near Farnham in Surrey braved the winter chill in early December to plant a further 1,200 new hop plants in a field opposite the brewery. The new plants add to the first batch planted in the spring and bring the total area under cultivation to 3.5 acres. It’s the largest newly-planted traditional hop garden in South-east England.

Three varieties of hops were planted:

Fuggles, which will go in to Hogs Back’s award-winning TEA – Traditional English Ale. These hops complement the supply of locally-grown Fuggles from Puttenham garden three miles away.

White Bine, which will augment the current plants grown in the garden and are planned for use in a unique new “green hop” beer that will go on sale in autumn 2015, using hops straight from the harvest. These are the only Farnham White Bine grown in the UK and they revive a tradition stretching back 300 years. The White Bine was the forerunner of the Kent Golding.

Cascade, which grew surprisingly well in the hop garden when first planted. The variety comes from North America where it’s grown at a more southerly latitude and with more sun. This fragrant citrus hop is one of the five hops used in the brewery’s Hogstar lager.

The hop garden, created in the spring of this year by Hogs Back owner Rupert Thompson, marks another phase in the expansion of the business, which has grown more than 30% in the past year.

Rupert Thompson says: “We sold the first beers using our home-grown hops in October but left most of the hops on the bine to strengthen the plants for the 2015 harvest. The expansion of our hop garden is an important step towards our long-term vision of linking brewing with local raw materials and traditional farming skills. It also gives us our own unique hop.

“And the project has been led and managed by our brewers and gives them a wholly new insight into this vital ingredient in great brews.”

Pictured top: Staff from Hogs Back enjoying a glass of TEA after planting hops. Below, Rupert Thompson (left) with hop estate manager Matthew King.

Hogs back planting 2