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3rd May 2017

Farnham pub ‘hops to it’ to win recipe competition – Red Mist Leisure and Hogs Back Brewery put ‘Poor Man’s Asparagus’ on the Menu


A ‘Surrey Smorgasbord’ featuring hop shoots and hop flavoured bread has won the annual Hogs Back Brewery hop shoot competition with pub group Red Mist Leisure.

Hogs Back supplied hop shoots from its own hop garden to chefs at five Red Mist pubs and challenged them to develop a new dish using the shoots. The end tips of the shoots were once known as ‘poor man’s asparagus’.

The winning dish was created by Jay Williams, head chef at the group’s Duke of Cambridge pub in Farnham. Jay’s Hop Smørrebrød included rare saddle of lamb served with hop shoots sautéed in beurre noisette, along with salsa verde and marinated anchovies, served on home baked focaccia bread infused with Cascade hops and leavened with brewer’s yeast.

Hop Smørrebrød went on the menu over the Bank Holiday weekend in the pub. Customers sampling the unusual dish were impressed with both its appearance and taste and it was especially popular among a group from the Farnham Beerex festival.

Williams said, “Infusing my bread with Hogs Back hops put the hop flavour right at the heart of the dish. The spicy Cascade hops worked very well with the peppery flavour of the hop shoots, and complemented the lamb beautifully.

“There was plenty of interest in the dish. The Hogs Back Brewery and its hop garden are just a couple of miles down the road from the pub, and our diners were fascinated to be trying a traditional, local ingredient.”

The runners-up prize went to Adam Sullens, head chef at The Queen’s Head in East Clandon, for his Hop Shoot and Parmesan Gnocchi served with locally picked Secretts’ asparagus, wild mushroom Hogs Back Hazy Hog cider sauce, crispy Parma ham & hop shoot dressing.

Both the Fuggles hops which provided the hop shoots and the Cascade hops in Jay’s bread are grown in the 3.5 acre hop garden, adjacent to the brewery in Tongham. Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “Hop growing was once a major part of Surrey’s economy, and hop shoots, or poor man’s asparagus, were a rural delicacy. Having revived the growing tradition with our hop garden, we’re delighted to be working with Red Mist Leisure’s pubs once again to bring back hop shoots as a fresh, local ingredient in great pub food.

“All the recipes were interesting and imaginative, and we particularly liked the hop Smørrebrød because it made the flavour of hops a focus of the dish.”

Mark Robson, co-founder of Red Mist Leisure, said: “The hop shoot competition, now in its third year, brings out the best in our chefs. Our customers love to see local food served on offer in our pubs, and we always encourage them to try it with a local beer from Hogs Back, such as their TEA or Hogstar lager or their Hazy Hog cider.”

At the Hogs Back hop garden, all hop shoots have now been cut, helping this year’s emerging hop plants to grow strongly and produce a healthy crop for the harvest in September.

Caption to attached image: Jay Williams prepares his wining Hop Smørrebrød at the Duke of Cambridge in Farnham.


Notes to editors:

  • Hogs Back Brewery was founded in 1992 in Tongham, Surrey, in the heart of the traditional Surrey hop growing area.
  • Its flagship brand TEA, or Traditional English Ale, is the fastest-growing traditional ale in Surrey and increasing in popularity elsewhere.
  • The Hogs Back Brewery range includes a number of award-winning draught and bottled beers, including Hogstar English Craft Lager, Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager and London’s Outback, all demonstrating Hogs Back’s ability to combine brewing expertise and tradition with product innovation to create distinctive, memorable beers. Hogstar won a Gold award at the Society of Independent Brewers’ National Keg Beer Competition 2015. In 2013, Hogs Back also launched a traditional cloudy cider, Hazy Hog.
  • In September 2015 Hogs Back Brewery harvested the first hops from its own hop garden on a 3.5 acre plot adjacent to the brewery, bringing the traditional but near-extinct Farnham White Bine hop variety back to its Surrey home. Once fully mature, the hop garden will provide 25% of the brewery’s hop requirements.
  • Hogs Back Brewery is growing its presence in both the on and off trade.  Customers include Enterprise, Mitchells & Butlers, Youngs, Greene King, Punch, JD Wetherspoons, Spirit Pub Company, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Lidl and Majestic.

Issued on behalf of: Hogs Back Brewery

Further information: Ros Shiel: / 07841 694137

John Porter: / 07734 054389