This week, Hogs Back Brewery near Farnham has planted a further 1,200 new hop plants in its new hop garden directly adjacent to the brewery. 3,200 hops are now planted, incorporating the historic Farnham White Bine hop, which was the foundation of Farnham’s pre-eminence in hop growing in the 18th and 19th century, and used to command the highest prices in the UK – at one time as much as 30% more than its Kent neighbours. The last White Bine garden in the area was grubbed up in 1929, a victim of downy mildew and cheaper imported varieties.
The new hop garden was created in the spring of this year by Rupert Thompson, the owner of the Hogs Back Brewery. It marks another phase in the successful expansion of the business, which has grown over 30% in the last year.
Rupert comments: “The expansion of our hop garden is an important step towards our long-term vision of linking our brewing with local raw materials and traditional farming skills. It also gives us our own unique hop. The project has been led and managed by our brewers, so we are now farmers as well as brewers; and this gives us all a wholly new insight into this vital ingredient to great beer.”
“We sold the first beers using our new home-grown hops, in October 2014, and results are very encouraging. The Farnham White Bine is very delicate and fresh tasting with a peppery aroma and good bittering character.”
The planting of the new hop plants brings the total area under cultivation to 3.5 acres, further underlining its position as the largest brewery hop garden in Britain.
Three varieties of hop were planted:
- Farnham White Bine – to augment the current plants grown in the garden, and planned for use in a unique new green-hopped beer to go on sale next autumn. These are the only Farnham White Bine growing in the UK and they revive a growing tradition stretching back 300 years.
- Fuggles – to go into Hogs Back’s award-winning TEA [Traditional English Ale]. These hops complement the supply of locally-grown Fuggles from the Puttenham garden, 3 miles away.
- Cascade, which grew surprisingly well in the hop garden last year, given that it usually grows in North America at a more southerly latitude and with more sun. This fragrant citrusy hop is one of the five hops used in Hogs Back’s exciting new Hogstar lager.
754 Fulham Road
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